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LIPPINCOTT'S 
EDUCATIONAL SERIES 

EDITED BY 

MARTIN G. BRUMBAUGH, A.M., Ph.D. 

PROFESSOR OP PRDAGOGY, UNTVBRSITV OF PKNNSYLVANIA, AND COMMISSIONBR 
OF EDUCATION FOR PUERTO RICO 

¥ 
VOLUME I 



LipPiNcorrs Educational Series 
THINKING 

AND 

LEARNING TO THINK 



BY 

NATHAN C. SCHAEFFER, Ph.D., LL.D. 

SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION FOR 
THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA 




^ OF THE r N 

UNIVERSITY "^ 



PHILADELPHIA 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY 

1900 



LEIO 5\ 
22 



Copyright, 1900 

BY 

J. B. LiPPiNCOTT Company 



CLtOTIIOTYPt& AND PRINTED BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT OOMPANY, PHItADE^'HiA, U.S.A. 



EDITOR'S PREFACE 

The progress of educational thought during the closing 
years of this century hias been marvellous. Professional 
schools have created a demand for professional teaching 
by giving an increasing group of skilled instructors to 
our schools. This professional activity has caused our 
leading cities to provide training-schools, as integral 
parts of the city system of education. Finally, our great 
nniversities have established departments of pedagogy 
for the higher training in education. As a result, the 
leading positions in higher schools and in sui)ervi8ion are 
more and more demanding professionally trained leaders. 

In this auspicious awakening for professional leader- 
ship there has come an increasing demand for standard 
treatises upon the fundamental problems of education. 
Treatises ui)on the history, methods, principles, and 
systems of education have appeared with astonishing 
frequency. That many of these are commercial treatises 
—made to sell — is doubtless true. There is always a 
great) temptation to profit by an active demand. Well- 
disposed but not always widely trained and broadly 
cultured teachers, who have achieved a local success 
with a method that owed its virtue to the personality 
of its author and not to its intrinsic worth, have been 
tempted into authorship. The wiser and nobler minds 
in the profession wait. The days of unrest and experi- 
mentation, breeding discord and confusion, have in part 
passed away, and the time has come when the products 
of all this divergent activity may be put to the test of 
clear analysis and adequate experience. This is especially 

5 

8.3007 



6 EDITOR'S PREFACE, 

tme in the domains of historic and philosophic inquiry. 
In exx>erimental activity, touching the problems of jwy- 
chic life as related to its sensorium, much has been done 
in a tentative way. Much must yet be done to produce 
results of enduring significance. 

This series of educational treatises is projected to give 
inquiring minds the best thought of our present pro- 
fessional life. Fundamental problems in education will 
be exhibited in the series from time to time by thoroughly 
trained leaders of extended experience. Teachers may 
confidently accept these as authoritative discussions of 
the cardinal questions of their profession. 

The highest endowment of the human spirit on the 
intellectual side is the power to think. Learning to 
think is an essential process and end in all school work. 
Thinking is the intellect's regal activity. In a vague 
way, all teaching appeals to the thought-activity of the 
pupil ; but vagueness in teaching is as pernicious as it is 
common. To exhibit the value, scope, and process of 
thought is of inestimable service to the teacher. It gives 
specific direction to teaching processes, and saves the 
child from a thousand fancifcil expedients. 

In the craze of the passing decade for novelty in teach- 
ing, there has resulted an undue emphasis upon forms of 
so-called_expressi9nal-_activity. It has been, in many 
quarters, forgotten that education is noblest when it pro- 
duces reflective activity. The power to analyze and 
synthetize thought-complexes is the most fruitfol en- 
dowment of the intellectual life. Expression without 
adequate reflection is productive of superficiality. 

We have been living a life of educational expedients. 
The path of educational advance is strewn with countless 
cast-off practices which once claimed attention largely 
because of the feeling among too many that the newest 
theory is the best. There has come, let us hope, the 



EDITOR'S PREFACE. 7 

more rational resolve to test all new and loudly heralded 
theories by fondamental laws of mental activity. To 
emphasize the significance of this reaction, and to afford 
helpful criteria of educational processes, this volume will 
be found most stimulating, suggestive, and sensible. 

For the purposes of the teacher thinking may be dis- 
tii^ished as follows : 

(a) Clear thinking^ by which one is to understand think- 
ing the thing, an^ not some other thing in its stead. 
Much thinking is not clear. The power of recall is not 
folly developed. The mind acts, but is not able to assert 
confidently the accuracy of what it acts upon. Much 
needless criticism is heaped ui)on schools because pupils 
cannot spell correctly, solve problems accurately, recite 
a lesson in history or in geography properly, — ^in short, 
because the pupil's knowledge is not clear. -The first 
step in all true teaching is the step that makes clear to 
the pupil the thing he is to think. — 

(5) Distinct ihiriMng, by which one is to understand think- \ 
ing the thing in its relations. This phase of thinking is ^ 
sometimes called apperception. It is the second, and not 
the first step in thinking. There is no value in teaching 
relations until the things to be related are first clearly 
apprehended. Perception must precede apperception^ — 
The pupil in the elementary school has been well taught 
if he has been taught to think clearly and distinctly. 

(c) Adequate thinking^ by which one is to understand 
thinking the thing in its essential parts. This is the 
analytic form of thought. The child at first cannot 
think adequately. His mind thinks things as wholes. 
He has not the power to think the whole and its parts, as 
parts of the whole, simultaneously. He mjust rise to 
adequate thinking only after clear and distinct thinking 
have become habits of mind. The fuller phase of this 
activity, by which these analyzed parts are synthetically 



8 EDITOR'S PREFACE. 

wrought into an organic unity, is the process of concept- 
making; — ^the essential prerequisite of all high orders of 
thought. This power every teacher should possess. It 
is his surplus of knowledge, the possession of which 
makes him easily master in the teaching process. 

(d) Exhaustive thinking^ by which one is to understand 
thinking the thing in its causes. This is the highest 
form of thinking the thing. It gives perspective to 
thought- processes, and eliminates all accidental and mis- 
leading elements from the categories of thought I ToQ^^ 
achieve this, one must sx)ecialize./ The teaching of the 
future must be more and more intensive in scope. The 
day of the encyclopaedist is gone. The teacher of to- 
morrow must be a teacher who knows one order of truth 
exhaustively, and who possesses the skill to incite in 
others a permanent enthusiasm for that order of truth. 
Scientific progress is conditioned by such teaching. 

The author has brought to this discussion the matured 
convictions of broad training in American and European 
systems of schools, and a wide and successful experience 
in teaching pupils and directing systems of education. 
The discussion takes on the modest but stimulating style 
of the public speaker. The author has for many years 
been among our foremost lecturers upon education. The 
temper of the discussion is moderate and constructive. 
There will be found here no wild excess, no straining after 
fanciful effect, no advocacy of sensational and ephemeral 
methods ; nor is there a trace of pessimistic and destamc- 
tive criticism of the earnest teachers who are conscious 
of limitations and are reaching hopefully for help. On 
the contrary, the discussion is full of real sympathy, 
founded upon personal experience with teaching in all 
its phases, and abounds in stimulating suggestion. 

M. G. B. 

October 1, 1900. 



PREFACE 

Fob a number of years it has been the author's duty as 
well as privilege to lecture at county institutes on the 
difficult art of teaching pupils to think. This led to the 
request that the lectures be thrown into permanent form 
for publication. The lecturer who never publishes has 
no pet theories to defend ; he can change his views as 
often as he sees fit ; yet, iu spite of this advantage, he 
camiot always escape or ignore the art of printing. One 
who gives his thoughts to the public without the use of 
manuscript and under the limitations of extemporaneous 
speech, made necessary by the large audiences which 
gather at teachers' institutes, especially in Pennsylvania, 
runs the risk of being misquoted and misunderstood ; he 
pays the penalty of being reported in fragmentary if not 
distorted forms. This ultimately drives him, in justice 
to himself and others, to write out his theories on educa- 
tion and to give them to his coworkers in print 

Portions of these lectures were delivered at the annual 
meeting of the superintendents of New England, before 
the State teachers' associations of Massachusetts, Ehode 
Island, and Florida, before the Connecticut Council of 
Education, before the summer schools held under the 
auspices of the Ohio State University and the University 
of Wisconsin, and at several of the meetings of the !N"a- 
tional Educational Association. The favorable hearing 
accorded on these occasions induces the hope that the 
lectures will be kindly received by many who teach out- 

9 



10 PREFACE. 

side of Pennsylvania, and by some who give instruction 
in onr higher institations of learning. 

Although no one can hope, on so difficult a theme, to 
say much that will be entirely satisfactory to leading 
educators, surely no apology is needed from any one who, 
after spending his best years in educational work, at- 
tempts to contribute his mite towards the solution of any 
of the problems which confront the teacher. 

It is assumed that there is a body of educational doc- 
trine well established in the minds of teachers, and that 
on many school questions we have advanced beyond the 
border line of first discovery. Those who assert that our 
educational practice is radically wrong and in need of thor- 
ough reformation should hasten to clarify their own views 
and ideas, to substitute constructive for destructive criti- 
cism, and to give definite shape to their reforms ; otherwise 
a whole generation will grow to maturity and the reformers 
themselves will pass away before any of their reforms 
will have been accomplished. To give teachers the feel- 
ing that what they are doing is all wrong, and to leave 
them without anything better in place of what is con- 
demned, robs them of joy in their work, makes them 
victims of worry and neurasthenia, and unfits them for 
the care of children. It is hoped that these lectures will 
be found to suggest a better way whenever criticism is 
bestowed upon existing methods of instruction. 

!N"o attempt is made to ridicule the arm-chair j)sycholo- 
gists, or the advocates of child study, or those patient 
and painstakii^ workers who are honestly seeking to 
establish \jie d^ts of mind through experiments in the 
laboratory. H^ who has carefully reflected upon the art of 
making pupils think will not hesitate to admit that thus 
far he has received more light from the standard psychol- 
ogy thaai from the labors of those who claim to be the 
exponents of the^new psychology. The latter can hardly 



PREFACE. 11 

write or talk without nsing the terms coined by the older 
students of mind ; this shows their indebtedness to those 
who taught and speculated before laboratories of psychol- 
(^y were established. Sometimes the experiments have 
only served to test and give a reason for what was al- 
ready accepted. Often they have brought to our knowl- 
edge &M!ts of mind which could never have been discov- 
ered by the method of introsi)ection. In either case the 
experiments have resulted in clear gain. Let the facts 
of brain and mind, of nervous and mental action, of 
human growth, maturity, and decay be gathered, ques- 
tioned, tested, and classified; let their bearing upon 
educational practice be set forth in the clearest possible 
light : every resulting step of progress and reform will be 
hailed with delight by all who have no pet theories to 
defend. 

The lecturer is limited by time, by the kind of audi- 
ence which he addresses, and by circumstances largely 
beyond his control. These limitations drop out when he 
reduces his thoughts to writing, and a rearrangement at 
many points becomes possible as well as desirable. The 
exi)edients for relieving the strain of attention and win- 
ning back the listless can be omitted ; and omissions that 
become necessary through the exigencies of the pro- 
gramme must be supplied for the sake of logical sequence. 
Moreover, the aims which those who engage the lecturer 
set before him frequently require a modification of the 
line of discussion, so that a course of lectures on a specific 
theme cannot always follow the same ord^r of treatment, 
although substantially the same in co ;ent and scope. 
Hence the division into chapters has ueen adopted as 
preferable to the original sequence of lectures. Never- 
theless, the style of the rostrum has not been altogether 
eliminated, because when oral discourse is thrown into 
new forms, and the phraseology is changed for the sake 



12 PREFACE. 

of publication, the loss in yividness, directness, and sim- 
plicity is greater than the gain in diction and fulness of 
statement 

Lecturing, as well as book-making, has its peculiar 
temptations. The lecturer must interest his hearers in 
order to hold them ; he is tempted to play to the galleries, 
and to omit what is beyond the comprehension of the 
average audience. The book-maker, on the other hand, 
is tempted to display his learning, to make a show of 
depth and erudition. The student of pedagogy is sup- 
posed to be in search of profound wisdom, l^ose who 
write for him often dive so deep that their style becomes 
muddy. Unfortunately, some of the best treatises on 
education have been written in the style of the philoso- 
pher and wrought out on the plane of the university pro- 
fessor, although intended for undergraduates at noruud 
schools, and for teachers whose meagre salaries do not 
enable them to pursue courses of study at institutions of 
higher learning. The lucid style of Spencer's treatise on 
" Education'' has done much to counteract this tendency. 
Yet many of the authors of our treatises on pedagogy 
seem to be haunted by a feeling similar to that of the 
Oerman professor, who, on reading the opening chapters 
of a new book, and finding them to be intelligible to his 
colleagues, exclaimed, "Then I must rewrite these chap- 
ters ; otherwise nobody will read my book through." 

Huxley has well described the penalty which must be 
paid by those who speak or write for the purpose of being 
understood. These are his words : 

" At the same time it must be admitted that the popu- 
larization of science, whether by lecture or essay, has its 
drawbacks. Success in this department has its perils for 
those who succeed. The * people who fail' take their 
revenge, as we have recently had occasion to observe, by 
ignoring all the rest of a man's work and glibly labelling 



PREFACE, 13 

him a mere x)opularizer. If the falsehood were not too 
glaring, they would say the same of Faraday and Helm- 
holtz and Kelvin.'' 

One who can never hope to rival the style of Spencer 
and Huxley and those to whom the latter refers, will 
nevertheless do well to emulate their skill in maJdng 
difficult things plain to people who are not si)eciali8ts or 
experts. He who writes for the teachers in our public 
schools should put aside his ambition to be considered 
erudite or profound, and endeavor above all things to be 
miderstood. Vague theories are apt to b^et a bad con- 
science in those who teach and to destroy the joy which 
every one has a right to feel while doing honest and 
MthftQ work. Hence the writer offers no apology for 
heaping illustration upon illustration in the effort to 
make his meaning plain to those whom he aims to help. 

There is at present great need for clear thinking and 
luminous presentation of foots on the part of all who write 
on education for the people or for teachers in our public 
schools. By a process similar to that by which the 
medisBval imagination swelled the murder of the innocents 
at Bethlehem into a slaughter of thousands of children 
(there cannot have been many male children two years 
old and under in a small Judean village), the harm which 
some pupils suffer is magnified into a national crime at 
the feet of American parents; the evils which result 
firom "Bob White'' societies, from children's parties, 
from church sociables for young boys and girls, are all 
ascribed to the school curriculum ; and reforms in home 
study are proposed which never fail to provoke a smile 
on the face of a healthy boy. 

The hygienic conditions of the average school are 
quite equal to those of the average home. The health 
of many children improves during their attendance at 
school. The pupils who are bom with a sound mind 



14 PREFACE. 

in a sound body, who get healthftd diet, enough sleep, 
and treatment from their elders which is not calculated 
to make them nervous or unhappy, show none of the 
illness from overwork, the dulnees of brain from fatigue, 
and the exhaustion of nervous energy which are made 
to fornish the narrow basis of feet for vague and broad 
generalizations. The haze in which those who must fur- 
nish the printer a given amount of copy in a given time 
are apt to envelop whatever they write has an effect 
like that of misty air ui)on the size of visible objects. 
Travellers who have come into a cloud while ascending 
a mountain report that a small wood-pile then looks like 
a bam, a cow seems larger than an elephant, men ap- 
I)ear as giants, and the surrounding heights assume 
threatening proportions. As soon as sunlight clears the 
atmosphere, objects are again seen in their true dimen- 
sions. The moment the light of common sense pene- 
trates the haze and mist and fog and cloud which are 
used to heighten the effect of essays ui)on school work, 
the need of radical reform seems far less urgent,* and 
teachers, instead of wasting their time in worry and 
uncertainty, b^in with cheerful heart to impart that 
which modem civilization requires every child to know 
as a condition of bread- winning and complete living. 

There is, of course, a worse fault than obscurity of 
style, — namely, dearth of ideas. The danger to which 
the lecturer is always exposed, that of losing his hearers 
and failing to be recalled (their minds may leave while 
they are bodily present), spurs to effort; in two directions. 
Either he will try to say something worth listening to, or 
he will strive to entertain by amusing stories and inci- 
dents. If he be conscious of a lack of talent for humor, 
he will try to stuff his lectures full of sense. If the lec- 
tures here published lack in this respect, the writer is 
willing to acknowledge fe^ilur^. 



PREFACE, 15 

In preparing a course of lectures it is proper to bear in 
mind the difference between the lecturer, the orator, the 
poet, and the philosopher. The philosopher investigates 
ideas and truths, explores their essence and relations, 
and unfolds them in their deepest unity and in their 
greatest possible compass. When this has been done 
throughout the whole domain of thought, his mission is 
accomplished. The poet seeks to clothe his ideas in 
beautiful forms. When the idea is perfectly suited to 
the form and the form to the idea, his mission is accom- 
plished. The orator aims to move the will ; he quotes 
authorities, uses ideas, appeals to the feelings, and subor- 
dinates everything to the one end of gaining a verdict, 
winning a vote, or getting a response in the conduct of 
those whom he addresses. The lecturer seeks to impart 
information. He aims to get a resx>onse in the thinking 
of those whom he addresses. He tries to reach the intel- 
lect rather than the will. Beautiful language and ex- 
haustive treatment are not essential parts of his mission. 
It is his province to elucidate the theme under considera- 
tion, to guide the efforts and inquiries of those who come 
to him for instruction, to direct them to the sources of 
information, and to furnish such incentives as he can 
towards independent study and investigation. 

Since the data for pedagogy are derived mainly from 
kindred fields of investigation, the lecturer on the sci- 
ence and art of education has frequent occasion to 
cite authorities and to utilize the labors and conclu- 
sions of the men eminent in the sciences which throw 
light upon the growth of the child, more especially 
upon the development of mind and character. The 
most original writers quote very little, and those who are 
anxious to establish a reputation for originality refrain 
from quoting others. It is the business of the lecturer to 
lead the hearer to the sources of information. When 



16 PREFACE. 

anything has been bo well said that he cannot improve 
npon the form of statement it is proper that he should 
quote the language, carefdlly giving the source whence 
it is derived. Without doubt, when the genius appears 
who will do for pedagogy what Aristotle did for logic 
and Euclid for geometry, he will so polish every gem he 
gets from others and give it a setting so unique and ap- 
propriate that the world will recognize the touch of the 
master and acknowledge the contribution as x>^c^^ly 
his own handiwork. In painting and sculpture we look 
to the past for the greatest works of art In music the 
century now closing has rivalled, if not surpassed, its 
predecessors. In the science and art of education the 
greatest achievements' belong to the future. It is cur- 
rently reported and sometimes believed that when the 
president of a celebrated -university was asked why he 
had transferred a certain professor from the .dei>artment 
of geology to that of pedagogy, he replied, "I thought 
the fellow would do less harm in that department.'^ If 
the story is not a myth, he probably meant less harm to 
the reputation of the university. When in our day a 
course in geology or logic or geometry is announced, one 
can foretell the ground that will be covered. No such 
prediction can be made with reference to a course of lec- 
tures on teaching. The prophet is yet to come who wiU 
• ^s. the scope of the science of education and give it some- 
thing like definite and abiding shape. 

This volume is not designed to supplant systematic 
treatises on psychology and logic. Its aim is to throw 
light upon one important phase of the art of teaching. 
If it contributes but two mites to the treasury of informa- 
tion on the science and art of education, the labor be- 
stowed upon it has not been in vain. Should any critic 
hint that two mites are all one has to give, it may be said 
in reply that it is better to give something than to give 



PREFACE. 17 

nothing at all, and that according to Holy Writ the 
smallest contributions are not to be despised if made in 
the right spirit. And it may add to the critic's stock of 
ideas to be informed that a small English weight, called 
mite, outweighs very many of the current criticisms upon 
modem education, that of this small weight it takes 
twenty to make a grain, and that to a faithful teacher a 
tenth of a grain of helpful suggestion is worth more than 
many tons of destructive criticism. 



CONTENTS 



CHAFTSR PAGK 

L — ^Make the Pupils Think 21 

II. — ^Thinking in Things and in Symbols 35 

III. — ^The Materials op Thought 47 

rV. — Basal Concepts as Thought-Material 63 

V. — ^The Instruments op Thought 85 

VI. — ^Technical Terms as Instruments of Thought . . 9& 

VII. — ^Thought and Language Ill 

Vm. — ^The Stimulus to Thinking 123 

IX. — ^The Bight Use op Books 137 

X. — Observation and Thinking 155 

XI. — ^The Memory Ain> Thinking 167 

XII. — ^Imaging and Thinking 191 

Xm.— The Stream op Thought 209 

XrV. — ^The Stream op Thought in Listening and Heading 223 
XV. — ^The Stream op Thought in Writing, Speaking, 

AND Oral Beading 239 

XVI.— Kinds op Thinking 255 

XVIL— Thinking and Knowing 269 

XVIIL— Thinking and Feeling 289 

XIX.— -Thinking and Willing 303 

XX. — ^Thinking and Doing 317 

XXI. — ^Thinking in the Arts 331 

XXII. — ^Thinking and the Higher Lipb 341 



19 



I 

MAKE THE PUPILS THINK 



21 



The value of a thought cannot be told. 

Bailey. 

He who will not reason is a bigot ; he who cannot is a fool ; he 
who dares not is a slave. 

Bykon. 

Reason is the glory of human nature, and one of the chief emi- 
nences whereby we are raised above the beasts in this lower 
world. 

Watts. 
Man is hot the prince of creatures, 
But in reason. Fail that, he is worse 
Than horse, or dog, or beast of wilderness. 

FlKLD. 

Man is a thinking being, whether he will or no. All he can do 
is to turn his thoughts the best way. 

Sm W. Temple. 



22 




MAKE THE PUPILS THINK 

Fob the purpose of testing the quality of gold alloy 
jewellers formerly used a fine-grained dark stone, called 
the touchstone. In the eyes of an educator a test of 
good instruction is more precious than pure teaching. 
gold. The touchstone by which he tests the quality of 
instruction, so as to distinguish genuine teaching from 
its counterfeit, rote teaching, is thinking. The school- 
master who teaches by rote is satisfied if the pupils 
repeat his words or those of the book ; t he true teac her 
s ees to it that the pupils think the thoughts which the 
words convey. 

TTinn g, who, next t o Arno ld, was perhaps the greates t 
te acher England ever had, laid much stress upon think- 
ing. Sometimes he would startle a dull lad, in Thiing's 
the midst of an exercise, by asking, *^What practice, 
have you got sticking up between your shoulders f' 
" My head," was the reply. ^* How does it differ from a 
tamip V ' And by questioning he would elicit the answer, 
"The head thinks ; the turnip does not" 

So imx>ortant is thinking in all teaching that at the 
World's Educational Congress, in 1893, one educator 
after another rose in his place to emphasize the views of 
maxim, " Make the pupils think." One of the <^^«"- 
most advanced of the reformers shouted in almost frantic 
tones, ** Yes, make even the very babies think." After 
the wise men had returned to their homes, a Chicago 
periodical raised the query, *'How can you stop a pupil 
from thinking t" And the conclusion it announced was 

23 



24 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

that neither the teacher behind the desk nor the tyrant 
upon his throne can stop a pupil from thinking. Evi- 
dently, if that which sticks up between a boy's shoulders 
is a head and not a turnip, if the pupil is rational and not 
an imbecile or an idiot, he does some thinking for himself ; 
and the maxim, ''Make the pupils think," requires further 
analysis before it can be helpful in the art of teaching. 

We who teach are very apt to overestimate thinking 
in our own line of work and to undervalue thinking 
outside of the school. There is, perhaps, as much good 
thought in a lady's bonnet as in the solution of a quad- 
ratic equation. A sewing-machine embodies as much 
genuine thought as the demonstration of a geometrical 
theorem. The construction of a locomotive or a rail- 
way bridge displays as much effective thinking as 
HegePs "Philosophy of History," or Kanfs "Critique 
of the Pure Eeason." Most men think very well in doing 
Thinking their owQ kind of work 5 in many other spheres 

for one's of activity they must let other people think for 
^ingon^ them. When the professor of astronomy dis- 

ottiera- cusscs a problem connected with his science, he 
thinks for himself 5 but when he buys a piece of land, he 
gets a lawyer to think for him in the examination of the 
title and the preparation of the deed. The lawyer 
thinks for himself in the court-house ; but when he goes 
home to dine, he expects his wife, or the cook, to have 
done the thinking for him in the preparation of the 
dinner. Grover Cleveland had the reputation of think- 
ing for himself: many a politician found out that this 
reputation was founded on fact ; but when the ex-Presi- 
dent is sick, or has the toothache, he is willing to let a 
physician or a dentist think for him. In like manner, 
a pupil may think very well upon the play-ground ; but 
if the teacher, whose very name indicates the function of 
guiding, fails to guide the pupil aright, the latter may 



MAKE THE PUPILS THINK. 25 

become a mere parrot in the class-room. What, then, is 
involved in making a pupil think ! 

The difficulty in answering this question is increased 
by the diversity of meanings of the word tkinking. The 
teacher who is not clear in his use of the term may em- 
ploy exercises calculated to develop one kind of mental 
activity, and then accuse the pupils of dulness because 
they do not show facility in some other intellectual pro- 
cess. When a text-book on mental science de- Thinking 
fines the intellect as the power by which we defined, 
think, the term thinking is used to designate every form 
of intellectual activity. The Century Dictionary defines 
thinking as an exercise of the cognitive faculties in any 
vay not involving outward observation, or the passive 
reception of ideas from other minds. The logician, 
defines thinking as the process of comparing two ideas 
through their relation to a third. Many exercises of the 
school are supposed to cultivate thinking in the last sense 
of the word, when in reality they cultivate thinking 
only in the widest acceptation of the term. 

The writer saw a normal school principal conduct an 
exercise in thinking, as the latter called it. Turning to 
one of the pupils, he said, ^'Charley, will you a faulty 
please think of something!'' As soon as the exercise, 
boy raised his hand the principal asked, '^ Does it belong 
to the animal, the vegetable, or the mineral kingdom!'' 
Then turning to the other members of the class, he said, 
"Who of you can think of the vegetable in Charley's 
mind!" The names of at least forty different vegetables 
were given and spelled and written upon the black-board. 
At last a pupil succeeded in naming what was in Char- 
ley's nund. Then there was a look of triumph upon the 
feces of the principal and the class, as much as to say, 
"Isn't that splendid thinking!" At least one person felt 
like bmying his face in his hands for very shame 5 for 



V 



26 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

here was reBorrected from the dead an old exercise of 
philanthropinism which was buried more than a hundred 
years ago. What should one call that kind of mental 
activity t ^G^ssi^ng. That is all it is. The exercise 
tended to beget a habit very difficult to break up after it 
has been formed. 

Far better was an exercise which the writer witnessed 
in a graded school. The teacher had called the class in 

Abetter the sccoud reader. As soon as all the pupils 
plan. ^QT% seated she said, "You may read the first 
paragraph.'' Instead of reading orally, the class became 
so quiet that one might have heard a pin drop. After 
most of the hands were raised she called upon one pupil 
to tell what the paragraph said. • The second paragraph 
was read and the substance of it stated in the pupil's own 
words. An omission was supplied by another pupil ; an 
incorrect phrase was modified by giving the correct 
words for conveying the thought In the course of the 
lesson it became necessary to clarify the ideas of some. 
This was accomplished by a few pertinent questions 
which made the pupils think for themselves. After the 
entire lesson had been read in this way she dismissed the 
class without assigning a lesson. Every member of the 
class went to his seat, took out his slate, and began to 
write out the lesson in his own language. The interest 
and pleasure depicted on their faces showed that it was 
not a task but a joy to express thought by the pencil. 
The teacher had given them something to think about ; 
she had taught them to express their thoughts in spoken 
and written language,* her questions had stimulated 
their thinking, and when, later in the day, the lesson in 
oral reading was given, the vocal utterance showed that 
every pupil understood what he was reading. There was 
no parrot-like utterance of vocables, but an expression 
of thought based upon a thorough understanding and 



MAKE THE PUPILS THINK, 27 

^preciation of what was read. The silent reading was 
an exercise in thought-getting and thought-begetting, the 
language lesson upon the slate was an exercise in active 
thinking through written words, and the oral expression 
furnished a test by which the teacher could ascertain 
what she had accomplished in getting her pupils to think. 

The first thing necessary in making the pupil think is 
best shown by relating another incident. The catalogue 
of a well-known school announced that the teachers were 
aiming to get their pupils to read Latin at sight and to 
think in more tongues than one. A captious superin* 
tendent wrote to the principal, saying, "I envy you. 
How do you do itt We would be satisfied if we could 
make pupils think in English." The reply was equally ^ / 
sharp and suggestive : ^* You ask how we make a sugges- \' 
pupils think. I answer. By giving them some- **^® ^^^y- ' 
thing to think about. If you ask how we make them 
think in more tongues than one, I answer, By giving 
tiiem, in addition to the materials of thought, the instru- 
ments of thought as found in two or more languages." i 

The first step in training a pupil to think is to furnish 
him proper materials of thought, to develop in his mind 
the concepts which lie at the basis of a branch The flret 
of study, and which must be analyzed, com- essential. 
pared, and combined in new forms during the prosecu- 
tion of that study. Just as little as a boy can draw fish 
from an empty pond, so little can he draw ideas, thoughts, 
and conclusions from an empty head. If the fundamental 
ideas are not carefully developed when the study of a 
new science is begun, all subsequent thinking on the 
part of the pupil is necessarily hazy, uncertain, unsatis- 
fectory. How can a pupil compare two ideas or concepts 
and join them in a correct judgment if there is nothing 
in his mind except the technical terms by which the 
scientist denotes these ideas ? The idea of number lies at 



28 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

the basis of arithmetic. How often are beginners ex- 
pected to think in figures without having a clear idea of 
what figures denote! What teacher has not seen chil- 
dren wrestling with fractions who had no idea of a frac- 
tion save that of two figures, one above the other, with a 
line between them ! How many of our arithmetics are 
ftill of problems involving business transactions of which 
the pupil cannot possibly have an adequate idea ! Not 
having clear ideas of the things to be compared, how can 
the learner form clear and accurate judgments and con- 
clusions ! 

So essential to correct, thinking is the 4evelo^ftent^of 
the concepts and id^gs.T^hich lie at. the basis of^^ach-Sci- 
pjq ^fiflce? that we may designate the giving to the 
thought- pupil of something to think about as the first 
material. ^^^ most important step in the solution of the 
educational problem before us. In other words, the fur- 
nishing of the proper materials of thought is the first 
step in teaching others to think. The force and the 
validity of this proposition are easily seen if we reflect 
upon the essential oneness of the manifold diversities of 
thinking as they appear at school and in subsequent years. 
It is universally conceded that education should be a 
preparation for life. The thinking at school should be 
an adumbration of the thinking beyond the schooL The 
possession of enough data, or thought-materials, for reach- 
ing trustworthy conclusions, which is the indispensable 
requisite of successful thinking at school, is likewise a 
necessary requisite of successful thinking in practical 
life. It behooves us to inquire into the nature and foun- 
Thinking dation of the thinking of men in the profes- 
inthe sions, and in other vocations, for the purpose 
piofessioiis. ^^ gaining further light upon the problem 
before us. Let us, then, inquire into the nature and 
foundation of the thinking of men eminent in a profes- 



MAKE THE PUPILS THINK, 29 

sion or prominent in some other vocation. The profes- 
sional man may have less native ability, less general 
knowledge, less culture and education, less mental power 
than the client whom he advises or the i)atient for whom 
he prescribes ; and yet his inferences and conclusions 
are accepted as more trustworthy than those of men out- 
side of the given profession, because he has ^ knowledge 
of fEicts and data which they do not possess. If he be a 
physician, sx>ecial training and professional experience 
have taught him how to observe the symptoms of differ- 
ent diseases^ how to eliminate sources of doubt and 
error 5 how to reach a correct diagnosis of difficult cases, 
and how to apply the proper remedies. If he be a 
lawyer, he has been taught how to examine court records ; 
how to detect and guard against flaws in legal docu- 
ments; how to find and interpret the law in specific 
cases ; how to protect the life and property of his client. 
The judge on the bench is learned in the law, though he 
may be ignorant of science, literature, agriculture, com- 
merce, and manufactures. He is aided in arriving at cor- 
rect conclusions by thought-materials which are not in 
the possession of laymen. 

How does the thinking of an expert differ from that of 
other ment Kot so much in the processes of The thinking 
thought as in the data upon which he reasons. ^^ experts. 
An ordinary witness may testify as to matters of fewt ; 
the expert is supposed to possess extensive knowledge and 
superior discrimination in a particular branch of learning 
or practice ; hence he may be a witness in matters as to 
which ordinary observers cannot form just conclusions, 
and he is held liable for negligence in case he injures 
another from want of proper qualifications or proper 
iwe of the thought-materials necessary to form trust- 
worthy conclusions. From this point of view we can see 
Bew force and beauty in the remark of Fitch that teach- 



30 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

ing is the noblest of the professions, but the sorriest of 
trades. The aim of a trade is to make something that 
will sell^ its ultimate aim is money, a livelihood. 
Teaching and the other professions, although they cannot 
be sundered from money-making, have a nobler aim. 
This arises out of the thought-materials with which they 
deal. If a teacher's mind does not busy itself with 
these, he sinks to the level of a tradesman. A very keen 
Teaching obscrvcr Said of the head of a large boarding- 
not a trade, gchool, that he had learned his trade from the 
principal of a large normal school under whom he had 
been trained. The remark, if true, was severe, but sig- 
nificant It was an intimation that the substance of the 
thinking of these two men was business rather than edu- 
cation ; that their conversation about the quality of the 
beef and mutton served, about the loaves of bread, the 
pounds of butter, and the bushels of potatoes consumed 
each week, indicated that they were thinking more of 
the stomach and the purse than of the things of the 
mind ; that their aim was a large attendance and a large 
cash-balance at the end of the year rather than the 
mental growth and professional preparation of their stu- 
dents. Their thinking was efficient and trustworthy in 
the domain in which it was exercised. It partook of the 
nature of trade-thinking, and lacked professional quality 
because it did not concern itself with problems of mental 
growth and moral training, with the proper sequence of 
studies, with the educational value of different kinds of 
knowledge, and with the best methods of economizing 
the time and effort of their students. 

In several aspects teaching is like a trade. Every art 

has its mysteries, with which those who practise it must 

be familiar if they would succeed. Teaching is 

no exception ; and if the annual institute or 

the school of pedagogy fails to clarify these mysteries 



MAKE THE PUPILS THINK. 31 

by patting the teachers in possession of materials for 
thotight and of methods of applying knowledge to beget 
thinking which are not within the ken of the average 
parent and the general pnblic, then failnre mnst be 
written over the outcome. A mystery is a lesson to be 
learned. A scrutiny of the mysteries which characterize 
every trade and every art will serve not merely to em- 
phasize the necessity for furnishing proper thought- 
materials^ but will be helpful also in paving the way for 
the consideration of another essential in training pupils 
to think. Let us view them in the concrete. 

A machinist, who was also a skilled mechanic, was 
compelled by circumstances to quit his trade and to 
accept a position as janitor. One day the pipe 
leading from the sink to the sewer was clogged. ^™^ ^' 
The teacher, in conjunction with a carpenter, worked a 
long time to ^ it, but in vain. The janitor was called, 
who in a few moments overcame the difficulty by the ap- 
plication of a principle in natural philosophy on which 
the teacher could have talked learnedly, although he 
knew not how to apply it in the given case. The janitor 
related how the foreman in a foundry was baffled in the 
effort to bore a hole through a piece of iron until a work- 
man, trained under a foreign master, suggested the pur- 
chase of two things at a drug-store by means of which 
the hole was easily bored. When the druggist asked 
about the use that was to be made of these chemicals, 
he was told that the use was one of the mysteries of the 
machinist's trade. 

Next, the carpenter fixed the mortise lock of a door 
which needed attention, and the others lauded the skill 
with which he handled his tools and applied his knowl- 
edge. Before the three separated, the janitor's son 
came with a word which he could not find in his lexi- 
con. With the aid of chalk and black-board and gram- 




32 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

mar, the teacher showed how to dig out the roots of a 
Greek verb and what beautiful changes occur in its con- 
jugation. The turn had come for the tradesmen to ad- 
mire the mysterious skill and i)ower of the teacher. 

In applying the principle of natural philosophy, the 
janitor made skilful use of one or two tools which the 
teacher and the carpenter had never seen. He could 
express thought through the tools of his own handicraft, 
in ways that they could not. Bach one of the three 
men knew the tools and the mysteries of his own vocation. 
During the entire scene there was not a logical flaw in 
the thinking of any one of them. Probably there was 
little difference in their native ability ; certainly none in 
the fundamental nature of their thought-processes. The 
practical difference resulted from the data at their com- 
mand and from the tools they were using to express the 
thoughts i)eculiar to their several vocations. 

The power to use tools, instruments, and machinery 
lifts man above the brute creation. There is labor- 
saving machinery in thinking as well as in maual labor. 
Man, the The more perfect the tools with which we work 
tool-user, the greater the results we can achieve without 
waste of effort. In thinking as well as in working we 
must use the best tools in order to attain the greatest 
facility and efficiency. Yonder are two wheat-fields. In 
one of them a giant is wielding the sickle of our fore- 
fathers ; in the other a youth, not yet out of his teens, 
is at work. At the close of the day the work of the 
giant will not bear comparison with that of the lad, be- 
cause the latter was sitting upon a self-binder. They had 
the same material to work upon, yet, in spite of his superior 
strength, the giant could not cope with his weaker though 
better-equipped competitor. In like manner, the youth 
who has mastered the algebraic equation, or the sym- 
bols and formulas of chemistry, is in many respects the 



MAKE THE PUPILS THINK, 33 

saperior of a much brighter man who is not in possession 
of these tools or instruments of thought. A boy of 
average capacity who goes through a good high ingtm- 
school thereby acquires certain fundamental mentsof 
ideas and the accompanying instruments of the second 
thought by which he is enabled to solve prob- essentdai. 
lems entirely beyond the power of a much brighter boy 
who never studies beyond the grammar grade. 

The instruments of thought are generally spoken of as 
symbols, whilst the materials of thought are the things 
for which the symbols stand. In thinking, the mind 
may employ the ideas which correspond to the things in 
the external world ; or it may employ the symbols by 
which science indicates things that have been definitely 
fixed or quantified. Failure to distinguish the sign from 
the thing signified, the symbol from its reality, ^^. 
leads to confusion in thought and to the most in thought 
disastrous results in mental development. Loss ^^ P^^»cr 
of appetite for knowledge must inevitably re- ^* 
suit from methods of teaching by which the pupil is 
expected to learn the sounds of the letters from their 
names, or musical sounds from the notation on the staff, 
or the ideas of number from the arable notation, or a 
knowledge of flowers from the technical terms of a text- 
book, or a knowledge of chemical elements and sub- 
stances from the definitions, descriptions, and formulas 
of a scientific treatise. The symbol is indispensable in 
advanced thinking ; but to expect the learner to get the 
fondamental ideas of a science from words, symbols, and 
definitions is evidence that the teacher does not under- 
stand the nature of thinking. It may, therefore, be 
helpful to set forth clearly the important distinction 
between thinking in things and thinking in symbols ; to 
point out their relative value in mental development 5 
and to fix their place in a rational system of education, 

3 



THINKING IN THINGS AND IN SYMBOLS 



86 



The rote system, like other systems of its age, made more of forms 
and symbols than of the things symbolized. To repeat the words 
correctly was everything, to understand the meaning nothing ; and 
thus the spirit was sacrificed to the letter. 

Herbebt Spencer. 

Words are men's daughters, but God's sons are things. 

Johnson. 

For words are wise men's counters,— they do but reckon by 
them, — ^but they are the money of fools. 

HOBBBB. 

It is only by the help of language (or some other equivalent set 
of signs) that we can think in the strict sense of the word ; that is 
to say, consider things under their general or conmion aspects. 

Sully. 



86 



II 

THINKING IN THINGS AND IN SYMBOLS 

Within half a mile of the Susquehanna Eiver a teacher 
was asking the class, ^'Of what is the earth's surfiEioe 
composed t" ^' Of land and water/' was the reply. In 
answer to a question by the superintendent concerni;ng 
the earth's surface, one boy declared that he had Lesson in 
never seen the earth. He had been acquiring geography. 
words without the corresponding ideas. Turning to 
another boy, this official said, ^'Will you please show 
me water t" With a gleam of satisfaction on his face, 
the lad raised his atlas, pointed to the blue coloring 
around the map of Korth America, and said, ^^That is 
water." "Will you please drink it f The expression 
on the faces of teacher and pupils indicated that all felt 
as if some one had committed a blunder. Where did 
the blunder liet Had the teacher taught what should 
not be learned! Surely, every child should learn how 
water is indicated on a map. Did the boy use language 
wrong in idiom f By no means,* for, as every student 
who has handled a lexicon well knows, many words have 
both a literal and a tropical, or figurative, meaning. If, 
X>ointing to an object, the teacher says, "This is a desk," 
he uses the word is in its literal sense. On the other 
hand, if he i)oints to a division on the map of the United 
States, and says, "This is Pennsylvania," he does not 
mean that the colored surface to which he is pointing is 
the real State of Pennsylvania (if it were, a political boss 
could iMKJket it, and carry it the rest of his days with- 

87 



38 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

out further trouble). What is meant is, that a given space 
on the map indicates or represents Pennsylvania, the 
word is being used, in the latter instance, in a figurative 
sense. Whether the word i», in the expression, ''This is 
my body, '' should be understood in a literal or in a figura- 
tive sense has been discussed for ages in the Christian 
church. In the answer of the boy we strike a distinc- 
tion in thought that lies at the basis of good teaching in 
all grades of schools, from the kindergarten to the uni- 
Two kinds vcrsity, — namely, the distinction between think- 
o' ing in things and thinking in symbols. In one 
^' sense of the word, all thinking is symbolic; 
for the percepts, concepts, and images of external 
objects which the mind employs in the thinking process 
are symbolic of the things for which they stand. But in 
advanced thinking, and especially in scientific investi- 
gations, objective symbols, such as words, signs, letters, 
equations, formulas, technical terms and expressions, are 
utilized to facilitate the thinking process. Take the age 
questions in mental arithmetic that have been prematurely 
inflicted upon so many pupils in the public schools. So 
long as the mind consciously carries A's age and the wife's 
age, using the clumsy instruments of arithmetical analy- 
sis, the thinking is difficult indeed. As soon as a; is made 
the symbol of A's age, and y the symbol of the wife's 
age, so that the conditions of the problem can be thrown 
into algebraic equations, the difficulty vanishes. In the 
algebraic solution the mind drops all thought of A's age 
and the wife's age while manipulating the signs and 
symbols of the equation, and restores the meaning of 
the symbols only when their value in figures has been 
found. The algebraic solution is a genuine specimen of 
thinking in symbols, and illustrates the labor-saving 
machinery which the human mind employs, more or less, 
in all the most difficult scientific investigations. 



THINKING IN THINGS AND IN SYMBOLS. 39 

What is a symbol! It is a mark, sign, or visible 
representation of an idea. The mathematician uses the 
symbol to represent quantities, operations, and symbol 
relations. The chemist uses the symbol to ^^^fined. 
indicate elements and their groupings or combinations. 
The theologian applies the term symbol to creeds and 
abstract statements of doctrine. The grips, countersigns, 
and passwords of a secret society may be spoken of as 
symbols of the ideas, aims, and principles of the organi- 
zation. Often the symbol is chosen on account of some 
supposed resemblance between it and that for which it 
stands, as when black is made the symbol of mourning, 
white of purity, the oak of strength^ and the sword of 
slaughter. "A symbol,'' says Kate Douglass Wiggin, 
''may be considered to be a sensuous object which sug- 
gests an idea, or it may be defined as the sign or repre- 
sentation of something moral or intellectual by the 
images or properties of natural things, as we commonly 
say, for instance, that the lion is the symbol of courage, 
the dove the symbol of gentleness. It need not be an 
object any more than an action or an event, for the 
emerging of the butterfly from the chrysalis may be a 
symbol of the resurrection of the body, or the silver 
lining of the cloud typify the joy that shines through 
adversity. ' ' Frequently the symbol is chosen arbitrarily^ 
or because it is the first letter of the word which denotes 
the quality, substance, thing, or idea for which the symbol 
stands. Grenerally the symbol is a visible representation, 
but it may also address the other senses, notably the ear 
and the sense of touch. The Standard Dictionary 
excludes the portrait from the extent or scope of the 
symbol, and confines it to the representation of that 
which is not capable of portraiture, as an idea, state, 
quality, or action. It is well to bear this limitation in 
mind during the present discussion. 



40 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

A few illustrations will serve to fix the sense of the 
word symbol. In some parts of America the tramps 
^^ have a system of symbols of their own, a given 
mark on the front gate indicating a good place 
to ask for a meal, another indicating a cross dog in the 
rear yard. That which the tramp fears or likes is not 
the mark which he sees, but a very real thing which that 
mark suggests to his mind. A number of the apostles 
were fishermen by trade. The fish became a very sig- 
nificant symbol in the days of early Christianity. The 
letters in the Greek name for fish are the initial letters 
of the expression, Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour. It is 
one of many instances showing how the human mind 
delights in heaping symbol upon symbol to conceal 
precious meanings from the uninitiated. 

What was the mental condition of the lad spoken of at 
the beginning of this chapter? The boy knew the real 
Symbols thing long before he knew the first symbol for 
for water, ^atcr. Without doubt he had tasted it, played 
in it against his mother's will, been washed in it against 
his own will, for months before he learned the first sym- 
bol for water used in common by him and others, which 
was probably the spoken word. Up to that time he 
thought of water in some mental picture or image which 
had been formed upon the eye and then upon mind some- 
what as the picture is formed through the art of the pho- 
tographer. Up to the time that he learned the spoken 
word for water this liquid suggested mental pictures 
which constituted a thinking in things* rather than in 
symbols, using the latter term according to the limit-ation 
set by the Standard Dictionary. On entering school he 

* For brevity's sake the phrase, thinking in things, is preferred 
to the more accurate but less convenient expression, thinking in 
the images of things. 



THINKING IN THINGS AND IN SYMBOLS, 4I 

was taught to read ; he added to the ear-symbol the eye- 
symbol, — ^that is, the written or printed word, which he 
may have associated at first with the real thing, or with 
the spoken word ; of course, very soon with both, if cor- 
rect methods of teaching were followed. Next, he was 
taught the map-symbol. The blunder which the teacher 
on the banks of the Susquehanna had committed con- 
sisted not in teaching how water is indicated on a map, 
but in not pointing to the majestic river near the school- 
house, and associating the water in its channel with the 
representations of water on a map. If the boy studied 
Latin or Greek, he was taught new symbols for water in 
the corresponding words of these languagea If he studied 
chemistry, he early learned the composition of water, and 
was thenceforth taught to write it H^O, a symbol en- 
shrining a new truth and lifting him to higher planes of 
thought by giving him a new instrument as well as new 
materials of thought 

^u\i fhA ftrrnrfl in tAfl/»hiTig firiflP frnm thA fa.r*t fhQ.t f\xf^ 

teacher does not conp ^''7|fly ^^^^ ^^ ^^^^ ^^^ '^^"♦^^^nPitiJon 
betwftft^ the symbol ftnd tb a \\^\^^ for wh j,^^]^ thA sources of 
symbol stands, thus giving rise to co nfusion in ®^'- 
l.flA flAin/i nl l.^f^ learner. A class was bounding the 
different States of the Union. At the close of the recita- 
tion the superintendent suggested that the class bound 
the school-house. It was bounded on the north by the 
roof, on the south by the cellar, on the east and west by 
walls. The geography classes of an entire city were 
caught in that way. Either the pupils had not been 
taoght, or else they had forgotten the difference between 
the real directions and the ordinary representation of 
them on the surface of a wall map. Sometimes the con- 
fosion exists in the mind of the teacher as well as in the 
minds of the pupils. Then he expects them to learn one 
thing while he teaches them another. By the methods 



42 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

formerly in vogue the pupil was expected to learn the 
sounds of the letters from their names ; the pronuncia- 

Elementary tiou of the WOrd from the names of the let- 
instruction, ^pg which compose it ; the names^ forms, and 
sounds of letters from the word taught as a whole ; the 
musical sounds from the notation on a musical staff ; the 
ideas of number, of fractions, from the corresponding 
symbols ; the units of denominate numbers and of the 
metric system from the names used in the tables of 
weights and measures ; the flowers of the field from the 
nomenclature of the botany ; the substances and experi- 
ments in chemistry from the descriptions and pictures of 
a text-book. Such teaching has given rise to endless lec- 
tures, editorials, and discussions upon the use of the con- 
crete in teaching, upon the value of thinking in things, 
upon the importance of object-lessons, laboratory meth- 
ods, and the like. 

But there is another side to the question. There 
comes a time in the development of the pupil when he 
must rise above the sticks and shoe-pegs and blocks of 
More ^6 elementary arithmetic, and learn to think 
advanced in the Symbols of the Arabic notation. Later 
^ ^^' he must learn to think in the more comprehen- 
sive symbols of the algebraic notation. He must learn 
to think the abstract and general concepts of science, 
and, in thinking these, to use the devices, technical terms, 
and other symbols which the scientists have invented to 
facilitate their thinking. 
iHear a parable. A teacher sat down to dinner. The 
waiter handed him the bill of fare. The pro- 
^™ ®* prietor followed the waiter to the kitchen, 
directed him to cut out the names of the eatables which 
had been ordered, and to carry these names on plates to 
the dining-room. "It is not these words,'' exclaimed 
the guest, "that I desire to eat, but the things in the 



i^-^^ 



THINKING IN THhf^ AND IN SYMBOLS. 43 

kitchen for which these words stand.'' ^' Isn't that what 
you pedagogues are doing all the time, expecting chil- 
dren to make an intellectual meal on words such as are 
found in the columns of the spelling-book and attached 
on mai)S to the black dots which you call cities! My 
boy gravely informs me that every State capital has its 
ring, because on his map there is always a ring around 
the dot called the capital of a country." The teacher 
was forced to admit that there is, alas ! too much truth 
in the allegation. In the afternoon he took revenge. 
Knowing that the proprietor had a thousand-dollar draft 
to be cashed, he arranged with the banker to have it 
paid in silver coin. When the landlord saw the grow- 
ing heap of coin, he exclaimed, '^If I must be paid in 
silver, can you not give me silver certificates f *^Did 
you not intimate to me," said the teacher, tapping him 
on the shoulder, " that it is the real things we want, and 
not words and symbols which stand for realities f The 
landlord was obliged to admit that in the larger transac- 
tions of the mercantile world it saves time and is far 
more convenient to use checks, drafts, and other symbols 
for money than it would be to use the actual cash. In 
elementary transactions, like the purchase of a necktie, 
it is better to use the cash, to think and deal in real 
money, but when it comes to the distribution of five and 
one-h^ million dollars among the school districts of 
Pennsylvania, it is better to draw warrants upon the 
State Treasurer, to use checks and drafts, and to think 
in figures, than it would be to count so much coin, and 
send the appropriation in that form all over a great 
commonwealth. 

The parable haxdly needs an interpretation. Its 
lesson points in two directions. On the one its inter- 
band, it shows in the true light every species pretation. 
of rote teaching, of parrot-like repetition of definitions, 



44 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

statements, and lists of words which give a show of 
knowledge without the substance. It puts the seal of 
condemnation on most forms of pure memory work. It 
sounds the note of warning to all teachers who are trying 
to improve the memory by concert recitations. The boy 
whose class was taught to define a point as jKwition with- 
out length, breadth, or thickness, and who, when asked to 
recite alone, gave the definition, "A point has a physi- 
cian without strength, health, or sickness," is but one 
of many specimens of class-teaching condemned by the 
parable. It says in unmistakable terms that all ele- 
mentary instruction must start in the concrete, taking up 
the objects or things to be known, and resolutely refusing 
to begin with statements and definitions which to the 
children are a mere jargon of words. 

On the other hand, the parable indicates how too long- 
continued use of the concrete may arrest development. 

Making ^^^ hinder the learner from reaching the stages 
blockheads, of advanced thinking. It hints that the too 
constant use of blocks, however valuable at first, ulti- 
mately begets blockheads, instead of intelligences capable 
of the higher life of thought and reflection. A rational 
system of pedagogy involves proper attention to the 
materials of thought and proper care in furnishing 
the instruments by which advanced thinking is made 
easy and effective. In one respect the parable does not 
set forth the whole truth. It makes no account of differ- 
ences in thinking due to heredity and mental training. 
The differences in native ability are, however, not as 
great as is generally supposed (unless the feeble-minded 
enter into the comparison) ; the differences due to correct 
training, or the neglect of it, are far more striking. The 
work expected of the pupil should, of course, tally with 
his capacity; otherwise it will force him to resort to 
pernicious helps, beget in him wrong habits of study, 



THINKING IN THINGS AND IN SYMBOLS, 45 

rob him of the sense of mastery and the joy of Intel- 
lectnal achievement, and destroy his self-reliance, his 
power of initiative, and his ability to grapple with diffi- 
cult problems and i>erplexing questions. The power to 
think grows by jndicioas exercise. Here better than 
anywhere else in the whole domain of school work can 
we distinguish the genuine coin from its counterfeit, and 
discriminate between true skill and quackery, between 
the artist and the artisan. It is at this point that most 
help can be given to young teachers by a good course of 
lectures on learning to think and on the difficult art of 
stimulating others to think. 



Ill 

THE MATERIALS OF THOUGHT 



47 



A vast abundance of objects most lie before us ere we can think 
upon them. 

GOBTflS. 

The young have a strong appetite for reality, and the teacher 
who does not make use of that appetite is not wise. 

J. S. Blackie. 

The child's restless observation, instead of being ignored or 
checked, should be diligently ministered to, and made as accurate 
as possible. 

Herbert Spencer. 

What do you read, my lord? 
Words, words, words. 

Hamlet. 

You have an exchequer of words, and I think no other treasure. 

Two Gentlemen of Verona. 



48 



Ill 

THE MATERIALS OF THOUGHT 

The hotel man was right in his criticism of teachers 
who expect their pnpils to make an intellectual meal on 
mere words. For three hundred years educational re- 
formers have been hurling their epithets against this 
abuse. Has it been banished from the schools? By no 
means. It croi)S out anew with every generation of 
teachers and in every grade of instruction from the kin- 
dergarten to the university. During the years in which 
a child acquires several languages without difficulty, if 
it hears them sx>oken; the mind is eager for words and 
often appropriates them regardless of their meaning. 
!S he diild learns rhymes an d phrases fprjbhe sake of the 
jigS^tiiat is in them, and cares very little for clearly 
d^edjdeas and thougEtsT" So strong and retentive is 
the memory for"wof3[s that the child finds it easier to 
learn by heart entire sentences than to think the thoughts 
therein expressed. Like a willing and obedient ^o^dg 
slave, the verbal memory can be made to do without 
the work of the other mental powers. The **^*^^*"- 
merest glimiMse at a picture may recall all the sentences 
on the same page, so that the pupil can repeat them with 
the book closed or the back turned towards the reading 
chart The recollection of what the ear has heard may 
thus relieve the eye of its function in seeing words, de- 
grade the child to the level of a parrot, and thereby 
greatly hinder progress in learning to read. Very fre- 
quently the memory is required to perform work belong- 

4 49 



50 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. ^ 

ing to the reflective powers, because the learner is thereby 
saved the trouble of comprehending the lesson and ex- 
pressing its substance in his own language. Moreover, 
the accurate statement of a truth is apt to be accepted as 
evidence of knowledge and correct thinking. The averag e 

je!xamination_t!Sats. very Jittle more tha^ thejDaemorj[^ If 
the answers are given in the language of the text-book or 
the teacher, the examiner seldom supplements the written 
work by an oral examination. Thus there is a constant 
tendency on the part of teachers and pupils to^rfS^ satis- 

"fied with correct forms of statement] and the^ernicious^ 
custom of feeding the mind on mere words is encouraged 
and perpetuated. Exposed in plain terms, this abuse of 
words is condemned by everybody ; yet it is as easy at 
this point to slide into the wrong practice as it is to fgdl 
into the sins forbidden by the decalogue. Like Proteus, 
this abuse assumes diverse and unexpected forms ; in- 
stance after instance is needed to put young teachers on 
their guard and to expose its pernicious effect upon 
methods of instruction and habits of study. To cry 
^^ words, words, nothing but words,'' will not suffice to 
correct the evil, for words must be used in the best kind 
of instruction. Line upon line, precept upon precept, 
example after example is needed to expose the folly o f 
learning words without corresponding ideas, o^J^adving 
symbolsjijpart from the things for which they stand, ^o 

^poTogy is needed for citing laughable and flagrant in- 
stances in point •, ridicule sometimes avails where good 
counsel fails. 

A sui)erintendent who advocates spelling-bees and 

magnifies correct orthography out of all proi)ortion to its 

„ „, real value startled a class in the high school 

Spelling. ° 

by asking for the spelling of a word of five 
syllables. Not receiving an immediate answer, he re- 
ferred to the Greek. This made the spelling easy for at 



THE MATERIALS OF THOUGHT, 51 

least one pupil. A year later he accosted this pupil, 
saying, '* You are the only i>erson that ever si>elled psy- 
chopannychism for me.'' "What does it meant" was 
the question flashed back at him in return for his com- 
phment He could not tell, because he did not know. 
For years he had worried teachers and pupils with the 
spelling of a word whose meaning he had fsiiled to fix 
accurately in his own mind.* What more effective 
method could be devised for destroying correct habits 
of thinking t 

There is a time in the life of the child when it is hun- 
gry for new words. The habit of seeing words accurately 
and learning their si)elling at first sight is then easily ac- 
quired, provided there is no defect in the pupil's eyes. 
In cases of defective eyesight the first step towards the 
solution of the spelling problem, as well as the first con- 
dition in teaching the pupil to think accurately, is to 
send him to a skilled oculist (not to a so-called graduate 
optician or doctor of refraction, who must make his living 
out of the spec^Jples he sells, and whose limited training 
does not enable him to make a correct diagnosis in criti- 
cal cases). Correct vision will assist the pupil not merely 
in learning the exact form of the words which 

, Eyesight. 

he uses in writing, but also in forming correct 
ideas of the things with which the mind deals in the 
thought-processes. Although great stress should be laid 
upon the orthography of such words in common use as 
are frequently misspelled, — daily drill upon lists of these 
should not be omitted at school while the child's word- 
hunger lasts, — yet it is vastly more important to acquire 
an adequate knowledge of the ideas, concepts, and rela- 
tions for which the words stand. To spend time upon 



* Psychopannychism denotes the doctrine that the soul falls 
asleep at death, not to awaken until the resurrection. ^^_ 



52 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

the spelling of words which only the specialist uses, and 
which are easily learned in connection with the specialty 
by a student possessing correct mental habits, is a form 
of waste that cannot be too severely condemned. It is 1^ 
better to spend time in building concepts of things met 
with in real life. 

The meaning of very many words is, of course, learned 
from the connection in which they occur. This, how- 
ever, is not true of sesquipedalian words like the one 
mentioned above, nor of the technical terms by which 
science designates the things that have been accurately 
defined or quantified. 

Technical terms are used to denote the ideas which lie 
at the basis of science. These fundamental ideas are 
Pundar appropriately called basal concepts. Since 
mental basal conccpts cannot be transferred from the 
*^®*^* teacher's mind to the pupils' minds by merely 
teaching the corresponding technical terms, they must 
.be developed by appropriate lessons. If this be neg- 
lected, there may be juggling with words and a show 
of knowledge; but close, accurate thinking is imx>os- 
sible. This seems to be so self-evident that one would 
hardly expect to meet violations of such a simple rule 
in the art of teaching. And yet it is related of the 
professor of physics in one of our largest universities 
that he began his course of lectures in this wise : ** A 
rearrangement of the courses of study deprived you of 
the usual instruction in elementary physics. That is 
your misfortune, and not my fault." Thereupon, he 
began his lectures on adv^ced physics as if the prepara- 
tion of his class to think the concepts at the foundation 
of his science could be ignored without detriment to the 
progress of the student, as if confused minds and un- 
satisfactory thinking were not the inevitable outcome of 
juggling with technical terms apart from the concepts 



THE MATERIALS OF THOUGHT. 53 

which they denote. A master in the art of teaching 
would have started on the plane occupied by the students. 
By development lessons he would have lifted them to the 
plane of thought on which he intended to move. He 
would have considered their mental progress of more 
consequence than the course of lectures which he was in 
the habit of delivering. The student, and not the study, 
should have held the chief place in his professional 
horizon. 

In another State university the professor of physics 
applied to an influential member of the board of trustees 
for an appropriation for apparatus. "Teach Abuse of 
what is in the text-book ; then you will not text-books, 
need apparatus," was the reply. It seems almost in- 
credible that a trustee of a modern university should fail 
to see the difference between an experiment actually 
performed and a description of the experiment in a text- 
book. More incredible still does it seem when we hear 
of professors who see no difference between an experiment 
made in the presence of a student and an experiment 
made by the student himself. 

Pictures of apparatus and descriptions of experiments 
should, of course, not be despised or neglected. They 
are helpful in forming concepts of that which ^pp^j^tug 
cannot be brought before a class. When made and experi- 
by the learner himself, as a result of his own ^^ents. 
work, they serve to clarify his thinking, and furnish a 
sure test of the pupil's progress and of the teacher's 
skill as a guide and instructor. A drawing, or even a 
statement in the pupil's own words, is often an astonish- 
ing revelation of the crude notions which pictures give. 
The city lad who said that a cow was no bigger than a 
finger-nail because he had often measured its size in the 
Piret Beader is a typical example. The ability to interpret 
pictures and descriptions comes from actual knowledge 



64 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

of things similar to what is depicted or described. The 

noted teacher, Agassiz, made a difference in his directions 

to beginners and advanced students. To the 

Agassiz. 

former he would give specimens, with direc- 
tions to study them without referring to a book. Having 
taught them how to use their eyes, he would gradually 
lead them to the method of interpreting and verifying 
the statements of an author. And when the advanced 
student was set to work at original investigations, he 
was told to study certain books, as it would save much 
valuable time. One of his pupils writes, ^^I shall never 
forget a forceful lesson given me by the great Agassiz, 
when I studied with him in the Museum of Cambridge. 
I worked near a young man from Cleveland, Ohio, who 
has since achieved distinction as a teacher of biology. I 
was comparatively a beginner, however, while he was 
well advanced in his studies. On a certain day Agassiz 
came sauntering by, and stopped long enough to tell me 
not to use the library so much, but to confine myself to 
observations of the specimens on hand and the writing 
of my observations and comments. Passing on a little 
farther, he spoke to my friend and said, ^ Albert, when 
you go home, this summer, to Cleveland, I wish you 
would make a special study of a certain kind of fish 
found in the harbor there. It is not found plentifully 
anywhere else in the world. Take a row-boat and go 
three hundred yards northeast of the point of the break- 
water, and you will find them in abundance. Before 
going home, get the only three books ever written on 
this fish from the library here and read them. It will 
save your time to read them before beginning to study 
the fish itself.' '' * Agassiz was as anxious to teach 

* For this incident the writer is indebted to Superintendent L. 
H. Jones, of Cleveland, Ohio. 



THE MATERIALS OF THOUGHT 65 

the right nse of books as is the professor of literature ; 
but he adapted his directions to the degree of advance- 
ment which his students had attained, and did not 
neglect the formation of the basal concepts and the 
habits of study needful in the sciences he taught 

How little the exhortations of our educational reform- 
ers have been taken to heart by some teachers is evident 
from the recent experiences of a normal school 

Botany. 

principal, who had great difficulty in finding a 
satisfactory teacher of botany. The students could in- 
variably answer the questions of the State Board of Ex- 
aminers by filling pages of manuscript with technical 
terms. In the field they could not distinguish one plant 
from another. In despair, the principal said to his 
teacher of psychology, '^ Why can we not apply common 
sense to the teaching of botany? Can we not plant 
seeds, watch their growth, and study the growing speci- 
mens instead of the pictures in a text-book f ^^If you 
will give me the class in botany, I will try it,'' was the 
reply. Before the next class took up botany, every 
chalk-box was emptied and every flower-pot utilized in 
the planting of gseeds. In no long time there appeared 
on the fences of neighboring farms sign-boards with the 
inscription, "Trespassing on these fields is forbidden, 
under i)enalty of the law.'' The members of the class 
were traversing the country, studying the real flowers, 
the growing plants, instead of the technical terms of a 
text-book. At the next final examination, the herbarium 
which each one had prepared, together with the accom- 
panying analysis and drawings of parts which could not 
be described, including colorings in imitation of the 
actual colors of the flowers, gave evidence of real knowl- 
edge, and served to satisfy the examiners, although the 
array of technical terms was far less formidable. 
If violations of the fundamental laws of teaching occur 



56 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

in our higher institutions of learning, what may we not 
exx)ect in the lower schools where the teaching is intrusted 
to young people of limited education ? Nevertheless, it is 
a notorious fact that the worst forms of teaching are found 
in our higher institutions of learning, where many of the 
professors seem to know as little of the science of educa- 
tion as the motorman knows of the science of electricity ; 
otherwise they would make impossible the use of ^ ^ ponies^ 
coaches, and keys," by means of which the student taxes 
the memory rather than the understanding, and ulti- 
mately loses all power of independent thought and inves- 
tigation. Such helps arrest mental development, destroy 
the power of original thinking, and do more harm than 
the practice of feeding the mind with mere verbal state- 
ments which in course of time may acquire content and 
meaning. The study of the sciences which classify min- 
erals, plants, insects, birds, fishes, and other animals 
may degenerate into a mere study of words, even when 
the student acquires some familiarity with the specimens 
to be classified. The scientific name is the one thing 
about a flower with which the Creator has had nothing 
to do, and if the recognition of the scientific name is the 
chief or sole aim of the student of botany, it is a genuine 
case of feeding the mind on words. 

By those who are fond of scientific pursuits the dead 
languages are sometimes despised as though the study of 
them were learned playing with mere words. Among 
I)eople who begin their education somewhat late in life 
there is a strong temptation to estimate linguistic studies 
very far below their true value as a means for disciplining 
the reasoning faculty. When pursued in the right way, 
the study of the classical languages furnishes as much 
good material for thought as the natural sciences. Hux- 
ley may charm an audience by a lecture on a piece of 
chalk ; the philologist can excite equal interest by a 



THE MATERIALS OF THOUGHT 57 

lecture on the word chalk. Words grow and andergo 
changes according to well-defined laws which famish as 
much food for thought as the laws governing ^o^dsas 
the union of atoms or the motions of the material for 
heavenly bodies. The words of a lexicon con- *^ought. 
tain as much of precious interest in the sight of man as 
the manufactured gases or the plucked leaves and dis- 
sected flowers of the laboratory. Greek and Latin roots 
have more vitality in them than the collections of stones, 
staffed birds, and transfixed bugs in the museum. The 
endings of nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and verbs furnish 
ample opportunity for observation, comparison, and re- 
flection; their functions in the syntax of the sentence 
furnish splendid exercises in formal and qualitative 
thinking. If, however, the time of the pupil is entirely 
consumed in mastering the hundreds of exceptions to the 
roles of gender and case, of declensions and conjugations, 
of syntax and prosody, it is another sad instance of feed- 
ing the mind on mere words. The pupil who b^ns the 
study of any foreign language before he has reached his 
teens should acquire the power to read the language at 
sight ; otherwise there has been something faulty in the 
methods of teaching or of study, or in both. A man is 
as many times a man as he knows languages ; and the 
comparison of the idioms of two or more languages fur- 
nishes most excellent material for carefiil and accurate 
thinking. In translating an author like Plato the student 
must think the thoughts of a master mind, weigh words 
so as to detect the finer shades of meaning, and arrange 
them in sentences that shall adequately express the mean- 
ing of the original. The value of pure mathe- Geometry 
matics, especially the Euclidian geometry, as a as, thought- 
means for the cultivation of thinking, lies in ^^*®^^- 
the linuted number of fundamental concepts which must 
be clearly fixed and in the nature of the reasoning 



58 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

by which the truth of the theorems is established. The 
axioms are few in number and easily grasped; the 
quantities to be defined can, without difficulty, be set in 
a clear light before the understanding ; the chain of proof 
compels the mind to join ideas by their logical nexus, and 
if the learner persists in memorizing the demonstration, 
he is at once detected. And yet when, as sometimes 
happens, he goes over several books of geometry without 
clearly perceiving the difference between an angle and 
a triangle, it must be a genuine specimen of acquiring 
words without the corresponding ideas. 

The words of S. S. Greene deserve the attention of 
every teacher anxious to prevent the formation of vicious 
8. 8. Greene's habits of thought by the pupils in our schools 

views. 3ji(j colleges. Years ago he wrote as follows : 
''While an external object may be viewed by thousands 
in common, the idea or image of it addresses itself 
only to the individual consciousness. My idea or image 
is mine alone, — the reward of careless observation, if 
imperfect ; of attentive, careful, and varied observation, 
if correct Between mine and yours a great gulf is 
fixed. No man can pass from mine to yours, or from 
yours to mine. Neither, in any proper sense of the word, 
can mine be conveyed to you. Words do not convey 
thoughts ; they are not vehicles of thought in any true 
sense of that term. A word is simply a common symbol 
which each associates with his own idea or image. 
Neither can I compare mine with yours, except through 
the mediation of external objects. And, then, hoyr do I 
know that they are alike ; that a measure called a foot, 
for instance, seems as long to you as to met My idea of 
a new object, which you and I observe together, may be 
very imperfect By it I attribute to the object what 
does not belong to it, take from it what does, distort its 
form, and otherwise pervert it. Suppose, now, at the 



THE MATERIALS OF THOUGHT 59 

time of observation we agree upon a word as a sign or 
symbol of the object or the idea of it. The object is 
withdrawn ; the idea only remains, — imperfect in my 
case, complete and vivid in yours. The sign is em- 
ployed. Does it bring back the original object! By 
no means. Does it convey my idea to your mindf 
Nothing of the kind ; you would be disgusted with the 
shapeless image. Does it convey yours to me ? No ; I 
should be delighted at the sight What does it effect! 
It becomes the occasion for each to call up his own 
image. Does each now contemplate the same thing! 
What multitudes of dissimilar images instantly spring 
up at the announcement of the same symbol ! — dissimilar 
not because of anything in the one source whence they 
are derived, but because of either an inattentive and 
imperfect observation of that source, or some constitu- 
tional or habitual defect in the use of the perceptive 
fiaculty." 

Dr. J. P. Gordy, to whom credit is due for the pre- 
ceding quotation, further says, ^^ Words are like pai)er 
money; their value depends on what they j.p.oordy's 
stand for. As you would be none the richer statement, 
for possessing Confederate money to the amount of a 
million dollars, so your pupils would be none the wiser 
for being able to repeat book after book by heart, un- 
less the words were the signs of ideas in their minds. 
Words without ideas are an irredeemable paper cur- 
rency. It is the practical recognition of this truth that 
has revolutionized the best schools in the last quarter of 
a century. ... In what did the reform inaugurated by 
Pestalozzi consist! In the substitution of the pestaiozzi's 
intelligent for the blind use of words. He re- reform. 
versed the educational engine. Before his time teachers 
expected their pupils to go from words to ideas; he 
tanght them to go from ideas to words. He brought 



60 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

out the fact upon which I have been insisting, — ^that 
words are utterly powerless to create ideas; that all 
they can do is to help the pupil to recall and recombine 
ideas already formed. With Pestalozzi, therefore, and 
with those who have been imbued with his theories, the 
important matter is the forming of clear and definite 
ideas.'' * 

It was a remark of Gk)ethe that genius begins in the 
senses. With equal truth we may say that thinking 
begins in the senses. Like unto the genius, the thought- 
ful man perceives and interprets what has escaped the 
Sight and ^oticc of Other people. To sight he adds in- 
insight. sight. That which he sees is subsumed under 
the proper class or category, and is viewed from different 
sides until its significance is discovered, and a place is 
assigned to it in the intellectual horizon and in the 
external T^orld. Every fact thus seen in its relation to 
other facts serves as a basis for further observation, 
reflection, and comparison. Not merely the genius, but 
every other person whose thinking is above the average 
in vigor and accuracy, has the power to perceive things 
which escape the eyes and ears of other people. Through 
habits of careful and correct observation he fills his mind 
with images, ideas, concepts of the objects of thought 
and of the relations which exist between these objects, 
and thereby acquires the materials for the comparisons 
which constitute the essence of good thinking. If the 
strength of a student is exhausted in gathering and 
storing the materials for thought, his mind becomes a 
wilderness of facts ; if he reasons without the facts, his 
conclusions are more unreal than the figments of the 
imagination. 
Truth is the best thought-material for the mind to act 

* ** Lessons in Psychology," pages 260-267. 



<^ 

THE MATERIALS OF WfOr^JS^. 61 

upon. The possession of truth is the aim and the goal 
of all correct thinking. Knowledge of the truth im- 
plies the conformity of thinking with being. 
The world within should be made to correspond proper 
with the world outside of us. thoughtr 

Fortunately, the self-activity of children is 
towards the objective world of things which they can see, 
hear, smell, taste, and handle. Prom inner impulse their 
thinking is directed towards the cognition of objects. One / 
of the functions of nature study is to beget habits of careful 
and accurate observation. This is a characteristic feature 
of the laboratory method as distinguished from the library 
method. A training in both is essential to a ^1^^ labora- 
complete education. The library stores the toryandthe 
treasures of knowledge which the human race ^^^^^• 
has gathered and makes them accessible to the learner. 
The laboratory shows him by what methods truth is dis- 
covered and tested and verified. The German professor 
who declined to visit a menagerie, asserting that he 
could evolve the idea of the elephant from his inner con- 
sciousness, may have spent much time in reading books 
and in speculation ; but he certainly never worked in a 
laboratory 5 nor had he taken to heart the lessons which 
he might have learned from the sages of antiquity. Aris- 
totle knew the importance of asking nature for ^. ^ 
£9bcts, and he induced his royal pupil, Alex- 
ander the Great, to employ two thousand persons in 
£^01)0, Asia, and Africa for the purpose of gathering 
information concerning beasts, birds, and reptiles, 
whereby he was enabled to write fifty volumes upon 
animated nature. After teachers had forgotten his 
methods they still turned to his books for the treasures 
which he had gathered. In the ages in which men hardly 
dared to ask nature for her secrets, fearing that they might 
be accused of witchcraft, they turned to Aristotle as if 



62 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

he were an infallible guide — so much so that when Grali- 
leo announced the discovery of sun-spots a monk de- 
clared that he had read Aristotle through from b^inning 
to end, and inasmuch as Aristotle said nothing about 
spots on the sun, therefore there are none. This book- 
method of studying science has not entirely disappeared 
from the seats of learning. Books like TyndalPs ^^ Water 
and the Forms of Water,'' Faraday's '^ Chemistry of a 
Candle," and Newcomb^s *' Popular Astronomy" may, 
indeed, be read or studied as literature, and thus prove 
a means of culture ; but to accept the facts and state- 
ments of a text-book without verification is the lazy 
man's method of studying science ; and as a method it 
fails to lay the foundation upon which a solid super- 
structure can be built The correct method starts with 
observation of the things to be known, develops the 
basal concepts which lie at the foundation of the science 
under consideration, ends by teaching the pupil how to 
make independent investigations, how to utilize the 
treasures which have been preserved in our libraries, 
thereby furnishing an adequate supply of proper mate- 
rials for thought. 

The habits of men who have surprised the world by 
their intellectual and professional achievements are very 
Productive suggestivc. Spurgeon kept his mind filled by 

minds, constant reading. Goethe was fond of travel 
and utilized what he learned from others. Emerson vis- 
ited the markets regularly, conversed with the men and 
women from whom he bought, and sought to learn their 
views on current events. Study the greatest thinkers the 
world has known, and you will find their memories to 
have been a storehouse of thought-materials which they 
analyzed, sifted, compared, and formulated into systems 
that win the admiration of all who love to think. 



IV 

BASAL CONCEPTS AS THOUGHT- 
MATERIAL 



68 



Thought proper, as distingoished from other facts of conscious- 
ness, may be adequately described as the act of knowing or judging 
of things by means of concepts. 

Hansel. 

We cannot learn all words through other words. There is a 
large and rapidly increasing part of all modem vocabularies which 
can be comprehended only by the observation of nature, scientific 
experiment, — ^in short, by the study of things. 

Mabsh. 

The question we ask of each thing (and of the whole exx>erience) 
is, What are you? You have qualities which I find everywhere 
else ; your color I find in other things ; your texture and hardness 
and odor and form I find in other things ; but they are combined 
in you in such a way as to make you a thing by yourself, and not 
anything else. And I want to know what you truly are^ — ^in 
short, what is your essence, which is also your idea, and the pur- 
pose or tAo« of your existence. 

Laurie. 



64 



IV 

BASAL CONCEPTS AS THOUGHT- 
MATERIAL 

The head may be likened unto a walled city, with com- 
paratively few building materials on the inside, and with 
a limited number of gate- ways through which all other 
materials for building purposes must pass. The walls 
are not^ made of brick or stone, ^but of bone ; the gate- 
ways are the different senses through which knowledge 
enters the mind. The building materials on the inside 
are intuitive ideas which take shape in conjunction 
with the entrance of materials from without. The struc- 
tures which are built up out of the ideas within and the 
sense; impressions from without are individual Building 
and general concepts. Take an orange. Its concepta. 
shape, color, parts, are known through the eye; Its 
flavor, as sweet or sour, is ascertained through taste; 
its odor through smejl; its temperature, shai)e, and 
some other qualities through touch. These various 
sense-impressions, giving the mind a knowledge of es- 
sential and accidental qualities and attributes, are com- 
bined in the idea of a particular orange. If the object 
were a bell, its sound, parts, uses, and qualities would 
make impressions through different gate- ways of knowl- 
edge; the builder inside would combine them into the 
more or less complete idea of the object presented to the 
senses. From each sense-impression the mind may get a 
percept; the synthesis of these percepts produces the 
individual concept or notion. 

6 66 



66 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

It is helpful at this point clearly to distinguish between 
essential and accidental attributes. The orange may 
have been kept in the open air when the temperature is 
low. To the hand it feels cold, and this quality enters 
into the idea of the first orange which the child has. 
As other oranges which have been in a warmer atmos- 
phere are brought to the child, the attribute cold is seen 
to be accidental, — that is, it is not a necessary quality of 
oranges in general. On the other hand, the qualities 
which are found in every orange — many of them hard to 
describe in words — become fixed in the mind as essential 
attributes of the orange. In course of time many objects 
of the same kind are presented to the senses, cognized 
by comparison so as to retain the essential attributes and 
to omit the accidentals. By this process the general 
notion ot concept is formed. 

It is self-evident that the mind's comparisons and con- 
clusions are unreliable in so fiar as the gate-ways of knowl- 
Qate-ways ^&® ^^ defective. Few persons have perfect 
of knowi- ears ; many can never become expert tuners of 

®^^®- pianos or reliable critics of musical perform- 
ances. The man who is color-blind is not accepted in 
the railway service or as an officer in the navy. The 
man who is totally blind is never selected as a guide in 
daylight. On the other hand, the blind girl spoken of 
by Bulwer could find her way better in the darkness of 
the last days of Pompeii than other people, because she 
was accustomed to rely upon the data furnished by the 
other senses in making her way through the city, and 
had improved these as gate- ways of knowledge beyond 
the needs of those gifted with sight. 

In building concepts of objects in nature it would be 
a great mistake to begin with the word instead of the 
thing. Juslj as little as a blind man can conceive the 
qualities color, light, darkness, through mere words, so 



BASAL CONCEPTS AS THOUGHT-MATERIAL, 67 

little can children conceive classes of objects which have 
never addressed the senses. Hence great stress has been 
laid by educational reformers upon the cultivation of 
habits of observation, upon the supreme necessity of 
teaching by the use of objects, or so-called object-lessons. 
First, things, then words, or signs for things, ^.^^^ 
was at one time a favorite maxim in treatises things to 
on teaching. CJonsistent application of the sy™^^*- 
maxim would have banished the dictionary from the 
school-room, or at least its use as a means for ascertain- 
ing the meaning of words. In consulting the dictionary 
for the meaning of a word, we pass not from y^^j^g,^ 
the thing to its sign, but in the opposite direc- to tung or 
tion, — ^that is, from the sign to the thing signi- *^«*- 
fied, from the symbol to the idea for which the symbol 
stands. The main essential in good instruction is that 
the words be made significant. In primary instruction 
this is best accomplished by passing from the idea to the 
word ; but in advanced instruction it is of less impor- 
tahoe whether we pass from the word to the idea or from 
the idea to the word. The meaning of very many words 
is acquired from the connection in which they are used. 
For the meaning of the larger number of words in our 
vocabulary we never consult a dictionary. The finer 
shades of meaning we get not from definitions, but from 
qnotations taken from standard authors. This fact 
should never tempt the teacher to trust to words, defini- 
tions, and descriptions in the formation of basal con- 
cepts. He should seek to give unto himself a clear and 
fdU account of the things or ideas which cannot spring 
from mere words, however skilfully arranged in sen- 
tences. The music-teacher who complained of the public 
schools because a seven-year-old child did not grasp his 
meaning when he spoke of half-notes, quarter-notes, 
eighth-notes, sixteenth-notes, should have known that 



68 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

many children of that age have never been taoght frac- 
tions^ and that the idea of a fraction is obtained not 
The sense ^^™^ sonnds (who distinguishes between half a 
to be ad- noisc and a whole noise t), but from objects 
^^^^^^' which address the eye. Instead of complaining 
about the school which the pupil attended, a teacher 
acquainted with the mysteries of his art would have 
started with the comparison of things visible ; and after 
having developed the idea of halves, quarters, eighths, six- 
teenths, by the division of visible objects into equal parts, 
he would have applied the idea to musical sounds. 

In seeking to build in the mind of the learner the con- 
cepts which lie at the basis of a new branch of study, it 
is a legitimate question to ask by which of the gate-ways 
of knowledge the materials or elements for the 
gate-Tvays ucw idea Can bcst be made to enter the mind. At 
for differ- the basis of arithmetic lies the idea of number, 
en eas. — ^^ .^^^ ^^^^ ^ cvoked by the question of 
how many applied to a collection of two or more units. 
Taste and smell must be ruled out from the list of 
senses which can be utilized to advantage. Three taps 
on the desk are as easily recognized as three marks or 
strokes on the black-board. The sense of touch is help- 
ful in passing from concrete to abstract num- 
ntegers. ^^^ rp^ think a uumbcr when the correspond- 
ing collection of objects is not visible, but is suggested by 
tactile impressions, helps to emancipate the thinking 
process from the domination of the eye ; in other words, 
it helps to sunder the thinking of number from a specific 
sense, and thus aids in the evolution of the idea of 
number apart from concrete objects. 
As already indicated, there are some basal concepts, 
like that of a fraction, in the development of 
which only one sense can be utilized to advan- 
tage. Whilst imparting the idea of a whole number, the 



BASAL CONCEPTS AS THOUGHT-MATERIAL. 69 

appeal may be to the eye, the ear, and the sense of touch ; 
the instruction designed to impart the idea of fractions 
to the normal child is limited to visible objects. In the 
instruction of the blind the other senses are addressed 
from necessity. The extent to which touch can supply 
the function of sight is full of hints to teachers in charge 
of pupils possessing all the gate- ways of knowledge. 

Moreover, not all units are equally adapted for impart- 
ing the first ideas of a fraction. Half of a stick is still a 
stick to the child, just as half of a stone is still called a 
stone in common parlance. The half should be radically 
different from the unit ; hence an object resembling a 
sphere or a circle is best adapted for the first lessons in 
fractions. In teahicng decimals the square or 

nGciniftls 

rectangle is better than the circle. It is diffi- 
cult to divide a circumference into ten equal parts. On 
the contrary, the square is equally divided into tenths 
by vertical lines, and then into hundredths by horizontal 
lines, thus furnishing also a convenient device for the 
first lessons in percentage. 

It is one of the aims of the training-class and the 
normal school to point out the best methods of devel- 
oping the different basal concepts which lie Basai 
at the foundation of the branches to be taught, concepts. 
Many of these are complex, and require great skill on 
the part of the teacher. The difficulty is well stated 
in John Fiske's discussion of Symbolic Concep- 
tions. He says, '^Of any simple object which ^^onsym* 
can be grasped in a single act of perception, iwuc con- 
such as a knife or a book, an egg or an orange, ^p*^**"^- 
a circle or a triangle, you can fi^me a conception which 
ahnost, or quite exactly, represents the object. The pic- 
ture, or visual image, in your mind when the orange is 
present to the senses is almost exactly reproduced when 
it is absent. The distinction between the two lies chiefly 



70 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

in the relative &intness of the latter. But as the objects 
of thought increase in size and in complexity of detail, 
the case soon comes to be very different Yon cannot 
frame a truly representative conception of the town in 
which you live, however familiar you may be with its 
streets and houses, its parks and trees, and the looks and 
demeanor of the townsmen ; it is impossible to embrace 
so many details in a single mental picture. The mind 
must range to and fro among the phenomena, in order to 
represent the town in a series of conceptions. But prac- 
tically, what you have in mind when you speak of the 
town is a fragmentary conception in which some portion 
of the object is represented, while you are well aware 
that with sufficient pains a series of mental pictures 
could be formed which would approximately correspond 
to the object. To some extent the conception is repre- 
sentative, but to a great degree it is symbolic. With a 
further increase in the size and complexity of the objects 
of thought, our conceptions gradually lose their repre- 
sentative character, and at length become purely 
symbolic. No one can form a mental picture that 
answers even approximately to the earth. Even a 
homogeneous ball eight thousand miles in diameter is 
too vast an object to be conceived otherwise than sym- 
bolically, and much more is this true of the ball upon 
which we live, with all its endless multiformity of 
detail. We imagine a globe, and clothe it with a few 
terrestrial attributes, and in our minds this fragmentary 
notion does duty as a symbol of the earth. 

^^The case becomes still more striking when we have 
to deal with conceptions of the universe, of cosmic forces 
such as light and heat, or of the stupendous secular 
changes which modern science calls us to contemplate. 
Here our conceptions cannot even pretend to represent 
the objects ; they are as purely symbolic as the algebraic 



BASAL CONCEPTS AS THOUGHT-MATERIAL ^l 

equations whereby the geometer expresses the shapes of 
curves. Yet so long as there are means of verification at 
our command we can reason as safely with these symbolic 
conceptions as if they were truly representative. The 
geometer can at any moment translate his equation into 
an actnal curve, and thereby test the results of his reason- 
ing ; and the case is similar with the undulatory theory 
of light, the chemist's conception of atomicity, and other 
vast stretches of thought which in recent times have 
revolutionized our knowledge of nature. The danger in 
the use of syi ^bolic conceptions is the danger of framing 
illegitimate symI)oIIN^at answer to nothing in heaven or 
earth, as has happenect first and last with so many short- 
lived theories in science and in metaphysics." 

The word conception as used in this quotation is synony- 
mous with concept, but elsewhere it is also used in two 
other senses, — namely, to signify the mind's power to 
conceive objects, their relations and classes, and to name 
the activity by which the concept is produced. Hence 
the term concept is preferred in this discussion. 

To give a full account of the development of the basal 
concepts in the different branches of study would require 
a treatise on the methods of teaching these 'branches. 
All that can be attempted is to draw attention to some 
of the typical methods and devices adopted by eminent 
teachers in the development of the concepts which Mr. 
Fiske calls symbolic conceptions. Distance is one of the 
concepts at the basis of geography and astron- concepts of 
omy. To say that the circumference of the <ii8ta^ce. 
earth is twenty-five thousand miles, that the distance 
of the moon from the earth is two hundred and forty 
thousand miles, and that the distance of the sun is ninety- 
two and one-half millions of miles may mean very little 
to the human mind, especially to the mind of a child. 
Supposing, however, that a boy finds a mile byaetu^l 




72 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

measorement, and that he finds he can walk fonr miles 
an hour, he can gradually rise to the thought of walking 
forty miles in a day of ten hours, or two hundred and 
forty miles in the six working days of a week. In one 
hundred and four weeks, or two years, he could walk 
around the globe. To walk to the moon would require a 
thousand weeks, or about twenty years. It iq by the 
method of gradual approach that concepts of great dis- 
tance, of immense magnitudes, of the infinitely large and 
the infinitely small, must be developed. To this cat^ory 
belong large cities like New York and London, quanti- 
ties denoting the size of the earth and its distance from 
the sun and the fixed stars, the fraction of a second in 
which a snap-shot is taken, or an electric flash is photo- 
graphed; such quantities are apt to remain as mere 
figures or symbols in the mind of the learner unless the 
method of gradual approach is adopted. Starting with 
a town or a ward with which the pupil is familiar, sev- 

Lai^e eral may be joined in idea until the concept of 

cities. a city of fifty or sixty thousand population is 
reached. It takes about twenty of these to make a city 
like Philadelphia, and five cities like Philadelphia to 
make a city like London. A lesson on how London is 
fed will add much to the formation of an adequate idea 
of such a large city.* 

An adequate idea of the shape of the earth can be 
formed only by gradual development. The three kinds of 

Shape of roundness (dollar, pillar, ball) must be taught j 
the earth. ^^1^^^ ^jj^ various easily intelligible reasons for 
believing it to be round like a ball may follow in the ele- 
mentary grade. As the pupil advances he may be told 
of the dispute between Newton and the French, the 
former affirming it to be round like an orange, — that is, 

♦See *' How London Lives,'* Thomas Nelson & Sons, London. 



BASAL CONCEPTS AS THOUGHT-MATERIAL, 73 

flattened at the x>oles^ — ^the latter asserting that it re- 
sembled a lemon with the polar axis longer than the 
equatorial diameter 5 and how, by measuring degrees of 
latitude and finding that their length increases as we 
approach the poles, the French mathematicians, in spite 
of their wishes to llie contrary, proved Newton's view to 
be correct. The same lesson might be taught by starting 
with the rotation of the earth, showing by experiment 
the tendency of revolving bodies to bulge out at the 
equator, and then di*awing the inference that the degrees 
of latitude are shortest where the curvature is greatest, 
and that they are longest where the curvature is least. 
Either method is strictly logical ; but the method which 
foUows the order of discovery, whenever it is feasible, is 
calculated to arouse the greater interest in minds of 
average capacity. The teacher who is a master of his 
art will supplement the historical lesson by a lesson 
passing from cause to consequence, so as to fix and clarify 
the concept formed by passing from the ground of knowl- 
edge to the necessary inference. Finally, by drawing 
attention to the fact that the equatorial diameters are not 
all of the same length, he will build up in the pupil's 
mind a concept of the real shape of the earth, — ^a shax>e 
mdike any mathematical figure treated of in the text- 
books on geometry. The attempt to give a complete idea 
of the shape of the earth in the first lessons on geography 
would have ended in confusion of thought ; the wise 
teacher develops complex concepts gradually and not 
more rapidly than the learner is able to advance. This 
process may be called enriching the concept. The suc- 
cessive concepts, although only partial representations 
of what is to be known, are adequate for the thinking re- 
quired at a given stage of development ; the number of 
complete or exhaustive concepts in any department of 
knowledge is small indeed. 



74 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

Instructive as it often is to follow the order of discov- 
ery, it mnst not be inferred that this is invariably the 
_. . best order of instruction. What teacher of 

The order 

of discovery astrouomy would be so foolish as to lead a 

"^^rti^'* student through the nineteen imaginary paths 

which Kepler tried before he discovered that 

an elliptical orbit fitted the recorded observations of 

Tycho Brahe ! * 

Much may be learned fix)m the methods pursued by 
eminent teachers. It will abundantly pay any teacher 
of science to study Faraday's lectures on the chemistry 
of a candle, — a series which for models of developing the 



* "Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was at one time in Prague as- 
sistant to the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. Unlike Tycho, 
Kepler had no talent for observation and experimentation. But he 
was a great thinker, and excelled as a mathematician. He absorbed 
Copemican ideas, and early grappled with the problem of deter- 
mining the real paths of the planets. In his first attempts he 
worked on the dreams of the Pythagoreans concerning figure and 
number. Intercourse with Tycho led him to reject such mysti- 
cism and to study on the planets recorded by his master. He took 
the planet Mars, and found that no combinations of circles would 
give a path which could be reconciled with the observations. In 
one case the difference between the observed and his computed 
values was eight minutes, and he knew that so accurate an observer 
as Tycho could not make an error so great. He tried an oval orbit 
for Mars, and rejected it ; he tried an ellipse, and it fitted. Thus, 
after more than four years of assiduous computation, and after 
trying nineteen imaginary paths, and rejecting each because it was 
inconsistent with observation, Kepler in 1618 discovered the truth. 
An ellipse ! Why did he not think of it before ? What a simple 
matter — ^after the puzzle is once solved I He worked out what are 
known as Kepler's laws, which accorded with observation, but 
conflicted with the Ptolemaic hypothesis. Thus the old system 
was logically overthrown. But not until after a bitter struggle 
between science and theology did the new sj^tem find general 
acceptation." — Cajori's *' History of Physics," pages 29, 30. 



BASAL CONCEPTS AS THOUGHT-MATERIAL. 75 

fdndamental concepts of chemistry is nnsurpassed. The 
devices used by such teachers are often very suggestive. 
For instance, in teaching the concept of the new geogra- 
phy that the earth revolves not like a body with a liquid 
interior, but like a body with an interior as rigid as 
glass. Lord Kelvin suggests a comparison of the spinning 
of a hard-boiled egg and of an egg not boiled at all, — an 
experiment easily made in every school-room. 

A few quotations from the astronomer Young will 
8how how concepts of great distances can be i^easof 
developed so as to be more than a numeral great dis- 
with a row of ciphers annexed : tances. 



" If one were to try to walk such a distance, supposing that he 
could walk four miles an hour, and keep it up for ten hours every 
day, it would take sixty-eight and one-half years to make a single 
million of miles, and more than sixty-three himdred years to trav- 
erse the whole. If some celestial railway could be imagined, the 
journey to the sun, even if our trains ran sixty miles an hour, day 
and night, without a stop, would require over one hundred and 
8eventy-five years. To borrow the curious illustration of Professor 
Mendenhall, if we could imagine an infant's arm long enough to 
enable him to touch the sun and bum himself, he would die of old 
age before the pain could reach him, since, according to the experi- 
ments of Helmholtz and others, a nervous shock is communicated 
only at the rate of one hundred feet per second, or one thousand 
six hundred and thirty-seven miles a day, and would need more 
than one hundred and fifty years to make the journey. Sound 
would do it in about fourteen years if it could be transmitted 
through celestial space, and a cannon-ball in about nine, if it were 
to move uniformly with the same sx>eed as when it left the muzzle 
of the gun. If the earth could be suddenly stopped in her orbit, 
and allowed to fall unobstructed towards the sun under the accel- 
erating influence of his attraction, she would reach the centre in 
about two months. I have said if she could be stopped, but such 
is the compass of her orbit that to make its circuit in a year she 
has to move nearly nineteen miles a second, or more than fifty 
times faster than the swiftest rifle-ball ; and in moving twenty 



76 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

miles her path deviates from i)erfect straightness by less than one- 
eighth of an inch." * 

Professor Young uses a very suggestive device in his 
astronomy for showing the comparative sizes and dis- 
tances of heavenly bodies : 

** Representing the sun by a globe two feet in diameter, the earth 
would be twenty-two-hundredths of an inch in diameter — ^the size 
of a very small pea or a ' twenty-two caliber round pellet.' Its dis- 
tance from the sun on that scale would be just two hundred and 
twenty feet, and the nearest star (still on the same scale) vxnM be 
eight thousand miles away at the antipodes J* ^ f 

Sometimes the employment of a new unit aids in real- 
izing the idea of very great distances. The ordinary 
astronomical unit is the distance of the sun from the 
earth ; it is not large enough to be convenient in express- 
ing the distances of fixed stars. Hence astronomers have 
found it more satisfactory to take as a unit the distance 
light travels in a year, which is about sixty-three thou- 
sand times the distance of the sun from the earth. The 
tables of fixed stars give distances in terms of this unit 
from 3.5 upward. A glance at these figures fiUs the 
mind with an idea of the infinite grandeur of the uni- 
verse and with feelings of awe and sublimity akin to 
those which must fill the soul on approaching the throne 
of Almighty God. 

Scientists assert that the infinitely great is more easily 
conceived than the infinitely small; that quantities 
represented by billions and trillions are more easily 
grasped than fr'actions of a unit with a million in the 
denominator; that ages of time are more easily com- 
prehended than fractions of a second. In a lecture 

* Young's "The Sun," pages 43, 44, second edition, 
t Young's ''Astronomy,*' page 174. 



BASAL CONCEPTS AS THOUGHT-MATERIAL. 77 

delivered at the International Electrical Exhibition, Pro- 
fessor Charles F. Himes employed a very ingenious 
device for giving an idea of how a ^^ snap-shot" may be 
made, or a photographic impression taken of an electric 
spark, or a flash of lightning. He exhibited a Time of 
photograph of the sparks of a Holtz machine, snapshot 
which are of shorter duration than any instantaneous 
drop or slide could be made to give. ^^ They impressed 
themselves upon an ordinary collodion plate as they 
passed. Suppose we assume one-twenty-thousandth of a 
second as the time, and we will be within bounds. That 
is a fraction difficult to comprehend. Our mental di- 
viding engine fails as we work towards zero. The 
twenty-thousandth of a second is so small that it eludes 
onr mental grasp. . . . Looking at it from another 
point of view, let us r^ard the effect as a space-effect 
instead of a time-effect. Light has a velocity, in round 
numbers, of one hundred and ninety thousand miles x)er 
second. That would be one hundred and ninety miles 
in one-thousandth of a second, nineteen in one-ten- 
thousandth, or, say, ten miles in our one-twenty- 
thonsandth of a second. Ten miles of light drive in 
upon our plate in that time ; or, if we held the corpus- 
cular theory of Newton, a chain of these little i)ellets ten 
miles long would have delivered themselves ui)on the 
sensitive siu'faces. Ten miles is comprehensible, one 
mile is, so that we could easily conceive of an effect in 
one-tenth of the time allowed to our electric sparks. But 
let us take another look at it. Light is not corpuscles, 
but undulations, tiny wavelets, ripplets of ether, eight 
hundred million million in a second for violet, a number 
we can easily understand, as Sir William Thomson * has 
told us. That would make eight hundred thousand 

*Now the well-known Lord Kelvin. 



78 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

million in one-thousandth, eight thousand million in 
one-ten-thonsandth, or forty thoosand million impulses 
striking our sensitive molecules in our one-twenty- 
thousandth of a second. Surely that number should 
produce an effect. We can readily conceive that 
one thousand million wavelets would produce an appre- 
ciable effect. They would represent one-eight-hundred- 
thousandth of a second, say one-millionth of a second. 
That would seem, then, to be ample time to produce a 
photographic effect." * 

Many teachers of science spend all their spare time in 
reading scientific literature and in x>osting themselves 
upon the latest achievements in their specialty. It might 
be to them a less delightful occupation if they traversed 
fields of investigation already well explored for the pur- 
pose of seeing how the student can be led over these 
most expeditiously and with minimum exi)enditure of 
time and effort Thought bestowed upon the best way 
of imparting the elements of science would have a most 
beneficial effect upon their methods of instruction, and 
would greatly increase their skill in teaching. Many 
of the most abstruse and complex ideas can be resolved 
by analysis into their elements, and thereby be made 
intelligible to people of ordinary training. An emi- 
nent teacher of theology felt called upon to impart 
to a promiscuous audience an idea of the doctrine of 
Idea of *^^ depravity as taught by the Church. He 

total started by referring first to the popular mis- 
depravity. ^^^ ^^^^ the doctrine teaches the utter de- 
pravity of the human race, then to the ancient heresy 
that the depravity of human nature resides in the body, 
and not in the soul, and, finally, to the meaning of total 
as signifying not that man is as bad as he can become, 

* ** Actinism, '^ by Professor Charles F. Himes, pages 18, 19. 



BASAL CONCEPTS AS THOUGHT-MATERIAL. 79 

but that he is depraved, or has a tendency towards sin 
not merely in his physical body, but in the totality of his 
being. Analysis prepared them to see that by total de- 
pravity is not meant that men are as bad as they can be, nor 
that ttiey do not have in their natural condition certain 
amiable qualities or certain laudable virtues; that the 
doctrine means that depravity, or the sinful condition of 
man, infects the whole man, — ^intellect, feeling, heart, and 
will,— and that in each unrenewed person some lower 
affection, and not the love of God, is supreme. Such 
analysis of a complex concept into its elements, the 
explicit setting forth what it is and what it is not, fol- 
lowed by the synthesis of the parts into a thought-unit, 
is the plan pursued by the best teachers in teaching 
diflficult subjects. By analysis we resolve complex con- 
cepts into their elements, which may be simple percepts 
or their relations. Things are separated in thought 
which go together in time, space, motion, force, or sub- 
stance. Every essential attribute or constituent can then 
be viewed by itself until the mind has gone around it 
with the bounding line of thought, grasped its nature and 
essence, and explored it in its different aspects and rela- 
tions. In this way the most abstruse subjects are shorn 
of their dif&culties, the most complex problems are 
solved and elucidated. 

The bearing of all this upon the art of teaching is 
easily shown. A teacher of geometry, whose mind was 
quite logical, failed, through lack of power, to value of 
make things plain. If the class did not grasp analysis, 
the demonstration of a theorem, he invariably started 
at the banning, tried to throw light upon every link 
in the chain of proof, and by the time he reached 
the point of difficulty the members of the class were 
thinking of something else. A younger colleague pur- 
sued a different plan. ^Starting some pupil upon the 



80 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

demonstration, he detected the difficulty, and by a few 
words of explanation, or by a well-framed question, he 
focussed attention ux>on the simple elements, into which 
he resolved the difficulty, and frequently surprised the 
class by showing the simplicity of what had puzzled 
their minds. Under the clarifying light of analysis half 
the difficulties and half the sophistries of human think- 
ing vanish like dew and mist before the morning sun. 

For the purpose of making bxi impression ux>on the 
moral nature word-painting is sometimes very helpftil. 
The moral All the tcxt-books ou physiology and hygiene 

nature, intended for use in the public schools seek to 
teach the evils of strong drink by showing the effect of 
alcoholic stimulants upon different parts of the human 
system. Yet the most exhaustive lessons on how whiskey 
is made, and what are its exhilarating and its x>ernicious 
effects, cannot equal the effects of the word-i)ainting of 
Eobert Ingersoll and the paraphrase by Dr. Buckley. 
In making a gift to a friend the former x>enned the fol- 
lowing eulogy on whiskey : 

"I send you some of the most wonderful whiskey that ever 
drove the skeleton from the feast or painted landscapes in the brain of 
man. It is the mingled souls of wheat and com. In it you will find 
the sunshine and the shadow that chased each other over the billowy 
fields, the breath of June, the carol of the lark, the dew of night, 
the wealth of summer, and autumn's rich content, all golden with 
imprisoned light. Drink it, and you will hear the voice of men and 
maidens singing the * Harvest Home,' mingled with the laughter 
of children. Drink it, and you will feel within your blood the star- 
lit dawns, the dreamy, tawny dusks of perfect days. For forty 
years this liquid joy has been within the staves of oak, longing to 
touch the lips of man." 

This was Dr. Buckley's statement of the other side : 

"I send you some of the most wonderful whiskey that ever 
brought a skeleton into the closet, or painted scenes of lust and 



BASAL CONCEPTS AS THOUGHT-MATERIAL. 81 

bloodshed in the brain of man. It is the ghosts of wheat and com, 
crazed by the loss of their natural bodies. In it you will find a 
transient sunshine chased by a shadow as cold as an Arctic mid- 
night, in which the breath of June grows icy and the carol of the 
lark gives place to the foreboding cry of the raven. Drink it, and 
you shall have 'woe,' 'sorrow,' 'babbling,' and ' woimds without 
cause.' Your eyes shall behold strange women, and ' your heart 
shall utter perverse things.' Drink it deep, and you shall hear the 
voices of demons shrieking, women wailing, and worse than 
orphaned children mourning the loss of a father who yet lives. 
Drink it deep and long, and serpents will hiss in your ears, coil 
themselves about your neck, and seize you with their fangs ; for at 
the last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder. For 
forty years this liquid death has been within staves of oak, harm- 
less there as purest water. I send it to you that you may put an 
enemy in your mouth to steal away your brains, and yet I call 
myself your friend." 

There comes a stage of development of the learner at 
which the word itself becomes the object of thought. 
Words are then classified as parts of speech, and The lan- 
their function in sentences is studied. Their s^^^^- 
properties and endings must be learned and compared. 
There is abundant room for thought in the eleVQn hun- 
dred variations of the Greek verb. The variations of 
words by declension and conjugation can be made the 
material for thought, and as these are always at hand in 
the text-book, no excursions to the field being needed to 
secure specimens, and no preparation of difficult experi- 
ments being required on the part of the teacher, the 
ancient languages have held their own in the schools 
with most wonderful tenacity. The study of language 
has not merely the advantage of supplying material for 
thought in the words, grammatical forms, and sentences 
which are always at hand in the text, but through the 
classics it brings the learner into intellectual contact 
with the best thoughts of the best men in ancient and 
modern times. To translate an author like Vergil or 

6 



82 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

Demosthenes is to think the thoughts of a master mind, 
to weigh words as in a most nicely adjusted balance, and 
finally to arrange them in sentences that shall adequately 
convey the meaning of the original text. 

Science is, of course, a product of the human mind, 

quite as much as the so-called humanities, and answers 

the same purpose when studied as literature : 

Science. x- x- 7 

but then it ceases to have the value of training 
the intellect in the rigid methods of original research and 
scientific investigation. Whilst it is the function of the 
laboratory to initiate the student into the mysteries of 
the methods by which new discoveries are made and 
verified, and thus to enable him to avail himself of the 
labors of others through their publications, it does not 
bring the student into living contact with human hopes, 
emotions, and aspirations as do the poems of Ooethe, 
Schiller, and Shakespeare. 

History deals with what man has achieved. The 
materials for thought which it furnishes are mostly 
in the shape of the testimony of eye-witnesses 
and other original sources of information. The 
incidents, the achievements, the struggles, the victories 
and the defeats, the thoughts, feelings, and experiences 
of historic i)ersonages, are an inexhaustible supply of 
material from which authors, editors, and orators draw 
illustrations, figures of speech, and other matter for their 
thinking. Here is a field which must not be neglected 
by those who would influence their fellows or figure as 
leaders of men. 

Some minds are slow at gathering materials ; yet they 

think vigorously. They look at facts and ideas from 

Vigorous every possible point of view, explore their na- 

thinking. turc and relations, their content and extent, 

and point out their bearing upon other things by the 

conclusions they reach. Sometimes they go astray 



BASAL CONCEPTS AS THOUGHT-MATERIAL. 83 

because they do not have sufficient data to warrant a 
conclusion. Their condition resembles that of the King 
of Siam, wno did not believe that water could become 
solid because hcliad been in the nine points of his king- 
dom and had not seen ice. 

Other men are intellectual gluttons. They keep pour- 
ing into themselves knowledge from every quarter, carry 
it in their minds as the overloaded stomach inteupctuai 
carries food, and end in mental dyspepsia, gluttony. 
Better the man with few ideas, who can apply these in 
practical life, than the man of erudition who cannot 
apply his knowledge. 

Too little food produces inanition and starvation ; too 
much food brings on dyspepsia and a host of other ills 
and distempers. The hap-hazard selection of studies by 
inexperienced youth from the large list of electives 
oflFered by a great university is apt to result either in 
mental overfeeding or in intellectual starvation. The 
mind can be rightly formed only when it is rightly in- 
formed. To expect satisfactory thought-products when 
the mind lacks proper materials to act upon would be 
as irrational as to expect good grist from a flour-mill 
whose supply of grain is deficient in quality and quan- 
tity. In the process of making flour very much depends 
upon the instruments employed. The rude implements 
of antiquity, the buhr-stones of our fathers, and the im- 
proved machinery of the roller process make a difference 
in the product, even though the same quality of grain is 
used. In the elaboration of the thought-material the 
well-educated man uses instruments which may be likened 
to our modem inventions for saving labor in the domain 
of the mechanic arts. These instruments of thought will 
next claim our attention. 



V 

THE INSTRUMENTS OF THOUGHT 



86 



But words are things ; and a small drop of ink 

Falling, like dew, upon thought, produces 
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. 

Bykon. 

Constant thought will overflow in words unconsciously. 

Byron. 

The great Lagrange specifies among the many advantages of 
algebraic notation that it expresses truths more general than those 
which were at first contemplated, so that by availing ourselves of 
such extensions we may develop a multitude of new truths from 
formulae founded on limited truths. A glance at the history of 
science will show this. For example, when Kepler conceived the 
happy idea of infinitely great and infinitely small quantities (an 
idea at which common sense must have shaken its head pityingly), 
he devised an instrument which in expert hands may be made to 
reach conclusions for an infinite series of approximations without 
the infinite labor of going successively through these. Again, 
when Napier invented logarithms, even he had no suspicion of the 
value of this instrument. He calculated the tables merely to 
facilitate arithmetical computation, little dreaming that he was at 
the same time constructing a scale whereon to measure the density 
of the strata of the atmosphere, the height of the mountains, the 
areas of innumerable curves, and the relation of stimuli to sensa- 
tions. 

Lewes's Problems of Life and Mind. 



V 

THE INSTRUMENTS OF THOUGHT 

Of the people who, though inheriting a rich vernacu- 
lar like the English, sx>en(i their lives in the routine of a 
fenn, a trade, or a store, very few have an adequate con- 
ception of the labor-saving instruments and appliances 
which modern civilization places at the disposal of the 
thinker. The machinery by which one man does as much 
as a thousand hands formerly did is not a whit more 
wonderM than the modem appliances for reach- j^^^^ 
ing results in the domain of thought. Eefer- saving in 
ence might be made to the machines for adding ^^^^k*'^- 
used in counting-houses, to the tables of interest used by 
bankers, to the tables of logarithms by which it is as easy 
to find the one-hundredth power as the square of a num- 
ber. The last named have, so to speak, multiplied the 
lives of astronomers by enabling them to make in a short 
time calculations that formerly occupied months, and even 
years. It is not nece^ry to discuss these ; their value is 
apparent at a glance. (But the value of a rich vocabulary, 
the function of the symbols and formulas of chemistry, 
physics, mathematics, and other sciences, and the advan- 
tages derived from the use of the technical terms peculiaiL 
to every domain of thought are not so easily seen. The ^ 
teacher who fails at the right time to put the pupils in / 
possession of these instruments of thought cripples their 
thinking, wastes their time and effort, and seriously mars 
their progress. Hence it is worth while to devote a 
chapter or two to the consideration of instruments of 

87 



88 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

thonght, for the purpose of showing how, by means of 
them, thinking is made easier and more effective. Let 
some one write the amounts in a ledger column by the 
Eoman notation, then endeavor to add them without 
using any figures of the Arabic notation, either in his 
mind or in any other way, and he will soon realize 
what a labor-saving device our ten digits are. Then 
let him face the problem of squaring the circle as it 
Squaring Confronted Archimedes, using the obvious truth 
the circle, that the perimeter of an inscribed i)olygon is 
less, while the perimeter of the circumscribed polygon 
is greater than the circumference of the circle, and long 
before his calculations reach the regular polygon of 
ninety-six sides (which is as far as Archimedes carried 
it), he will realize how the great Syracusan was ham- 
pered by the lack of the arithmetical notation now in 
use. Kext, supposing himself in possession of the Arabic 
method of notation, let him conceive the labor of Bu- 
dolph von Ceulen, who, before logarithms were known, 
computed the ratio of the circumference to the diameter 
to thirty-five decimal places, — ^an achievement considered 
so great that the result was inscribed upon his tombstone, 
— ^and then, turning to the calculus, let him examine the 
formulas by which Clausen and Dase, of Germany, com- 
puting independently of each other, carried out the value 
to two hundred decimal places, their results agreeing to 
the last figure ; this will give him a conception of the 
superior instruments of thought invented by those who 
developed the calculus. His idea of the labor-saving 
devices introduced by the calculus will be heightened 
still more on learning that Mr. Shanks, of Durham, 
England, carried the calculation to six hundred and 
seven decimal places, — 2k result so nearly accurate that 
if it were correctly used in calculating the circumference 
of the visible universe, the possible error would be in- 



THE INSTRUMENTS OF TW^ygPS ' - 89 

appreciable in the most powerful microscoi)e. On farther 
learning that in 1882 Lindeman, of Konigsberg, rigor- 
ously proved this ratio, commonly represented by the 
symbol 7t, to be incapable of representation as the root 
of any algebraic equation whatever with rational co- 
efficients, he will not only refrain from joining the com- 
mon herd of squarers of the circle, but no further argu- 
ment will be needed to show the nature and value of 
the labor-saving devices introduced into the domain of 
thought by modem mathematics. 

Since it is unreasonable to expect that every reader 
shall be familiar with higher mathematics, the duty of 
using simpler illustrations cannot be evaded. For- 
tunately for the purpose in hand, the book of exi)erienoe 
famishes these with an abundance that is almost 
bewildering. 

A professor of chemistry was lecturing to an audience 
of teachers on agriculture. When he began to write 
upon the black-board they smiled at his spell- 
ing. Iron he wrote Pe. Water he si)elled H2O. 
They soon saw that he was using the instruments of 
thought furnished by a science with which, unfortunately, 
few of them were fEimiliar. He had found that the use 
of these chemical symbols made his thinking as much 
superior to that of the ordinary man as the work of the 
youth upon a self-binder is superior to that of the giant 
working with no better instrument than the sickle of our 
forefathers. 

The school furnishes numerous examples to illustrate 
this point. When the teachers of a well-known city 
began the use of objects to impart the ideas of number 
and of the fundamental rules in arithmetic, the interest 
of the pupils and their facility in calculation grew won- 
derfully. The teaching was in accordance with the laws 
of mental growth. For fear the pupils would manipulate 



90 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

the Arabic figures without corresponding i(iea£i, collec- 
tions and equal parts of objects were drawn ux>on the 
slate to illustrate addition and subtraction of integers and 
fractions. The plan was followed for years and carried 
upward through the grades. Finally the pupils were 
examined for admission into the high school. A 
problem involving the four fundamental rules in com- 
binations which could not be illustrated by pictures 
of objects, or the objects themselves, was set for solution. 
Out of fifty-nine applicants, only ten succeeded in giving 
the correct answer. The same kind of problem was 
given three times by three different persons, and with 
practically the same outcome. The teachers realized that 
they had kept up for too long a time the thinking in 
things, instead of drilling the pupils upon the process of 
thinking in the symbols of the Arabic notation. It is, 
of course, possible to think number without using the 
Arabic digits. The Eomans did so by means of their 
counting-boards, and the Chinese do so by devices of 
their own. The characters which were brought into 
Western Europe through Arabic influences are derived, 
according to Max Mueller, from the first letters of the 
Sanskrit words for the first ten numerals. Their use 
^^rai^ie facilitated calculation to such an extent that 
notation, arithmetic gradually ceased to be the preroga- 
tive of slaves and ecclesiastics ; its operations began to 
be understood by freemen and by the nobility. If chil- 
dren are denied the use of objects in their early lessons 
in number, they resort to counting on their fingers. If 
they are not led from this thinking on their fingers to 
thinking in figures, they will never become expert in 
arithmetic. Sometimes the fingers no longer move, but 
the mind conceives pictures of the hand, and the mind's 
eye runs along the fingers of hands not visible to the 
corporeal eye. It is equally bad if the pupils never 



THE INSTRUMENTS OF THOUGHT. 91 

think nnmber except by mental pictures of blocks, 
sticks, balls, and the like. When the pupil sees 7x9, he 
shonld not conceive seven heaps of nine shoe-p^s each, 
and then a rearrangement into six groups of ten shoe- 
p^ and three stray ones alongside of these groups ; but 
instantaneously the symbols 7x9 should suggest, with 
unerring accuracy, the result, — 63. 

In the schools of another district the principal proposed 
concrete work in fractions. The teachers and pupils 
b^an to divide things into halves, and thirds, 
and fourths, and sixths. They added and sub- ^^' 

tracted by subdividing these into fractions that de- 
noted equal parts of a unit Whilst the charm of nov- 
elty still clung to the process, a stranger who visited the 
schools asked one of the teachers how the pupils and 
parents liked the change. "Everybody is delighted," 
was the exclamation. A year later the same teacher was 
asked by the visitor, "How are you succeeding with 
your concrete work in fractions f With a dejected air 
she replied, "We are disappointed with the results.'^ 
** Jnst as I expected," exclaimed the visitor ; "for you 
were making the children think on the level of barbar- 
ism, instead of teaching them to use the tools and labor- 
saving machinery of modern civilization." 

Still another incident, taken from actual life, will 
serve to throw light ux)on the subject under discussion. 
In the booming days of the iron industry a laborer had 
saved and put out at interest twelve hundred dollars. 
The rate was six per cent., and no interest had been 
paid for one year and four months. Unable to reckon 
interest with figures, the toiler asked the principal of 
the schools to tell him the amount of interest Reckoning 
due. Next day he greeted the principal by interest. 
asking, "Did you not make a mistake in your calcula- 
tion 1" The reply was, "In my hurry to avoid being 



92 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

late at school I may have made a mistake. ' ' He found that 
the man was right, and curiosity led him to ask how- the 
error had been detected. '^I reckoned it," said the 
man. This aroused still greater curiosity ; for the prin- 
cipal knew that, beyond the ability to count, the man 
had no knowledge of arithmetic By agreement they 
met on Saturday afternoon, so that the man might show 
his method of reckoning interest. At the appointed 
hour the man laid six pennies on the floor to denote a 
year's interest on one dollar, and then laid two pennies 
alongside of these as the additional interest on a dollar 
for four months. The supply of pennies being 
exhausted, he made strokes with chalk, and proceeded 
to do this twelve hundred times, and then to count them 
for the purpose of ascertaining the interest. It was 
thinking in things with a vengeance. And yet the 
making of strokes with chalk was a step in symbolic 
representation, and shows the innate tendency of the 
human mind to use symbols in thinking. 

Even the words used in counting are symbols. In fact, 
every word that signifies anything is a symbol used by 
the mind to indicate an idea more or less com- 
plex, as well as the thing or things or relation 
of things in the external world which corresi)ond to the 
idea. In advanced thinking the words denote ideas 
more and more complex as the problems grow in diffi- 
culty or involve more of the abstract and general con- 
cepts under which the mind classifies the objects of which 
it takes cognizance. This is more largely true of the 
words in a developed language than it is of a dialect 
with little or no literature. A reference to the writer's 
Dialects ^^^Y home will be pardoned in this connec- 
tion. His father, a plain farmer in Eastern 
Pennsylvania, sent four sons through college and gave 
each of them a professional or university education. 



THE INSTRUMENTS OF THOUGHT, 93 

When they gather under the parental roof they use the 
dialect of their early days in discussing life on the farm 
and in rehearsing the funny experiences of their boy- 
hood; but when they discuss a question in science or 
mathematics, in law, medicine, or theology, they drop the 
dialect of their boyhood and use the instruments of 
thought furnished by languages having a literature. 
Some one has £a»cetiously said of one town in the Lehigh 
Valley that the i)eople pray in seven languages and swear 
in eight. It is a witty statement of an actual fact. The 
Welshman can pray as well as swear in his native 
tongue. The Pennsylvania German can vent his feel- 
ings Mly in his own dialect when he grows profane. As 
soon as he says his prayers he reV^erts to the language 
of the pulpit and of Luther's Bible because he there 
finds the words which express the deepest wants and 
emotions of the human soul. 

When Melanchthon prepared the Saxony school plan 
he insisted that pupils should read Latin, write Latin, 
and speak Latin to the exclusion of the mother Meianch- 
tongue. If an educator of to-day should ad- *^<''*- 
vocate this policy in the fatherland, he would be ban- 
ished. Melanchthon, sumamed preceptor Germanise, 
knew what he was about. He taught at a time when 
teachers of the humanities lamented that children were 
bom in the homes of parents speaking German. He 
lectured at a time when Luther and his colleagues were 
visiting market-places to talk with the peasants for the 
purpose of gathering words and phrases by which the 
New Testament might be adequately rendered in the 
vernacular of the common people. A devel- q^^^^^ ^^ 
opment extending over one hundred and fifty theoerman 
years was required before the lecturers at the i"^«**a»e- 
universities found in it enough words and phrases to 
serve as instruments of thought for purposes of ad- 



94 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

vanoed investigation and ratiocination. So rich and 
flexible has the German become that Yoss succeeded in 
translating Homer into German, using the same metre, 
the same number of lines, without adding to or subtract- 
ing from the ideas of the original. Schlegel's translation 
of Shakespeare is equally £Bunous and equally successfoL 
Both of these masterpieces show how essential a rich 
vocabulary is in rendering or in reproducing the best 
thoughts of the best minds; they show the impor- 
tance of linguistic development and linguistic teaching. 
Value of ^^^ purposes of thought and culture a rich 
a rich mother tongue is of untold advantage. It is 
vocabulary. ^ great blessiug to be bom and raised in a 
home presided over by a well-educated mother. It is an 
invaluable help to l)e trained in schools whose teachers 
speak and write the languages which have felt the touch 
of the genius of Shakespeare and of Ck)ethe. Next 
to furnishing ideas or something to think about, the 
thing of most importance in teaching a pupil to think is 
to enrich his vocabulary, to train him in language. Dr. 
Whewell has well remarked that '^language is the 
atmosphere in which thought lives, for there is hardly a 
subject we can think about without the aid of language. 
Consequently, without knowledge of the language of a 
science all thinking with regard to that science is impos- 
sible ; for although we conceive the world by means of 
our senses, we comprehend it only in and through the 
form of language." In this connection one cannot do 
better than listen to the conclusions of men who have 
attained eminence as scholars, thinkers, and writers. 
Speaking from experience, they can throw light ux>on the 
art of correct and efficient thinking. 

^'Language, we must remember," says Dr. Morrell, 
"is not constructed afresh by every individual mind 
which uses it It is a world already created for us, — 



THE INSTRUMENTS OF THOUGHT. 95 

one into which we have simply to be introduced, and in 
which the process of human development, up to any given 
period, is more or less perfectly preserved 
and registered. EecoUection, accordingly, by •*>"*• 
enabling us to appropriate to ourselves a whole system 
of signs, with the ideas attached to them, initiates us 
insensibly into the intellectual world of the present, puts 
us upon the vantage-ground of the latest degree of civil- 
ization, and enables us to grasp the ideas of the age with- 
out the labor of thinking them out consecutively by our 
own individual effort.'' * 

^^ Language," says Dr. Whewell, ^^is often called an 
instrument of thought *, but it is also the nutriment of 
tliought; or, rather, it is the atmosphere in d^. 
which thought lives; a medium essential to wheweii. 
the activity of our speculative power, although invisible 
and imperceptible in its operation; and an element 
modifying, by its qualities and changes, the growth 
and complexion of the fEiculties which it feeds. In 
this way the influence of preceding discoveries upon 
subsequent ones, of the past ux>on the present, is most 
penetrating and universal, though most subtle and diffi- 
cult to trace. The most familiar words and phrases are 
connected by imperceptible ties with the reasonings and 
discoveries of former men and most distant times. Their 
knowledge is an inseparable part of ours ; the present 
generation inherits and uses the scientific wealth of all 
the past And this is the fortune not only of the great 
and rich in the intellectual world, of those who have 
the key to the ancient storehouses and who have accumu- 
lated treasures of their own, but the humblest inquirer, 
while he puts his reasoning into words, benefits by the 

* Dr. Morreirs ** Elements of Psychology/* quoted by Galloway 
in "Education, Scientific and Technical," page 165. 



96 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

labors of the greatest discoverers. When he counts his 
little wealth, he finds he has in his hands coins which 
bear the image and superscription of ancient and modem 
intellectual dynasties ; and that, in virtue of this posses- 
sion, acquisitions are in his power, solid knowledge 
within his reach, which none could ever have attained 
to if it were not that the gold of truth, once dug out of 
the mine, circulates more and more widely among man- 
kind.'' * 

*^The word ^vernacular,' " says Hinsdale, "is derived 

from verruicuLvLSy which comes from venui, a slave bom in 

Dr. mns- liis master's house ; and it means the sx)eech to 

<^e- which one is born and in which he is reared, — 
the patrius sermo of the Eoman, the MuUer-spracJie of 
the German, the mother tongue of the Englishman. 
Command of a noble vernacular involves the most valu- 
able discipline and culture that a man is capable of 
receiving. It conditions all other discipline and culture. 
. . . The greatest mental inheritance to which a German, 
a Frenchman^ or an Englishman is bom is his native 
tongue, rich in the knowledge and wisdom, the ideas 
and thoughts, the wit and femcy, the sentiment and feel- 
ing, of a thousand years. Kay, of more than a thousand 
years ; for these languages, in their modern forms, were 
enriched by still earlier centuries. To come back to the 
old thought, such a sx)eech as one of these only flows out 
from such a life as it expresses, and is in turn essential 
to the existence of that life." f 

Parents who wish their children to possess the best 
instruments of thought cannot be too careftil in the selec- 
tion of teachers for them. Children whose mother tongue 

* Quoted by Galloway in " Education, Scientific and Technical," 
pages 116, 117. 
t Hinsdale's ** The Language Arts," pages 17, 18. 



THE INSTRUMENTS OF THOUGHT 97 

is a dialect should be tradned in one or more of the lan- 
guages that have been enriched by centuries of develop- 
ment and literary culture. The best that the people of 
Pennsylvania-Cterman extraction can do for future gener- 
ations is to make the transition as speedily as possible 
from their vernacular — so poverty-stricken in its vocabu- 
lary—to the English, with its abundant vocabu- 
lary and its unsurpassed literary treasures. In 
the English they will find the instruments of thought 
fitted to develop native powers that have been inherited 
from an ancestry of sturdy husbandmen, and strength- 
ened through heredity by centuries of contact with the 
soil, even as the giant AntsBus, in wrestling with Her- 
cules, is fabled to have gained new strengtii as often as 
he came in contact with mother earth. The same advice 
will apply to the other nationalities who have come to 
live on American soil, even though they have brought 
with them a more developed vernacular. The English 
dictionary contains one hundred and twenty thousand 
words ; but besides these words in common use, the dic- 
tionaries of the specialists contain several hundred thou- 
sand more, which may be called technical terms, and 
which serve as instruments of thought in scientific dis- 
cussions and investigations. To these we next turn our 
attention. 



VI 

TECHNICAL TERMS AS INSTRUMENTS 
OF THOUGHT 



99 



It is the power of thinking by means of symbols which demar- 
cates men from animals, and gives one man or nation the superior- 
ity over others. 

Lbwbb. 

Hardly any original thoughts on mental or social subjects ever 
make their way among mankind or assume their proper importance 
in the minds even of their inventors until aptly selected words or 
phrases have, as it were, nailed them down and held them iset. 

J. S. Mnx. 

Though most readers, probably, entertain, at first, a persuasion 
that a writer ought to content himself with the use of common 
words in their common sense, and feel a repugnance to technical 
terms and arbitrary rules of phraseology, as pedantic and trouble- 
some, it is soon found by the student of any branch of science that, 
without technical terms and fixed rules, there can be no certain or 
progressive knowledge. The loose and infantine grasp of common 
langus^e cannot hold objects steadily enough for scientific examina- 
tion, or li^ them from one stage of generalization to another. 
They must be secured by the rigid mechanism of a scientific 
phraseology. This necessity has been felt in all the sciences, from 
the earliest periods of their progress. 

Whfwell. 

Ideas and existences are represented by terms and phrases ; and 
as terms and phrases are representative of thoughts and things, 
and are the means which enable us to speak about them, the defi- 
nitions, descriptions, and explanations of terms form a very neces- 
sary part of science ; and he who would understand science must 
learn the meaning of the special terms employed in it. 

Gore. 



100 



VI 



TECHNICAL TERMS AS INSTRUMENTS 
OF THOUGHT 

Some teachers are very much afraid of technical terms. 
They teach their pupils to say name- word instead of 
noun, action- word instead of verb, and bring Technical 
over instead of transpose. There is no end to *^™^- 
the phrases they invent for the sake of avoiding technical 
terms. Acting on the maxim that a pupil shall never 
be allowed to use a word without comprehending its 
meaning, they prefer to use compound wor^p and 
phrases to denote the fundamental ideas of the various 
branches of study. This fear of technical terms is a 
natural result of the reaction against rote teaching. So 
much has been said and written against the teaching of 
mere words, especially big words, against parrot-like 
recitations of definitions, rules, principles, and forms of 
statement given in the text-book or wrought out by the 
teacher, that many people fail to see the value of technical 
terms as instruments of thought. A separate Their 
chapter is necessary to point out their function ^*^"®- 
in scientific thinking and instruction. In comjnon par- 
lance the use of technical terms should be avoided. Do 
we say that Nebuchadnezzar had a long noun or a long 
namet Noun is a technical term ; name is the word in 
ordinary use. Do we say that a man broke his femur or 
bis leg t The doctors who set the limb will probably jia^. 



102 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

the technical term in their conferences. In talking with 
the common people they use the common names, unless 
they wish to awe the multitudes by a show of learning. 
Often, indeed, men use big words to hide their ignorance. 
In physiology the investigations are carried as far as 
possible, and then a term is coined to cover the unknown. 
Often high-sounding words are strung together to cover 
a lack of ideas or to establish a reputation for erudition. 
These are tricks to which a genuine teacher has no occa- 
sion to resort. It is his duty to ascertain the educational 
value of the technical terms of science, and to use these 
terms for the purpose of fixing scientific ideas in the mind 
and of causing the pupil to think clearly and exactly. 

At the basis of every science, as we have seen, there 
are certain ideas which cannot be conveyed to other 
minds by the use of the corresx)onding technical terms. 

Basal These basal concepts must be built up in the 
concepts, learner's mind by skilful teaching, sometimes 
by the very process by which the race acquired or dis- 
covered them. It may require a trip to the field, to the 
museum, or to the mine ; or an experiment in the labora- 
tory may be necessary. Perhaps a development lesson is 
needed to enable the pupil to grasp the idea clearly and 
fully. It is very certain that if the idea is hazy and ill- 
defined, the subsequent thinking will be loose, obscure, 
and unsatisfectory. The glib use of technical terms may 
often hide from the teacher the defects of the pupiPs 
thinking, and it may require an examination to reveal 
the points wherein the teacher has failed. Questions 
which require a pupil to look at his knowledge from a 
new point of view are helpful ; an examination abound- 
ing in such questions may be an intellectual blessing to 
both teacher and pupil. The examiner should, of course, 
avoid puzzling catch-questions, for these are calculated 
to embarrass the pupil and confuse his thinking. 



TECHNICAL TERMS INSTRUMENTS OF THOUGHT. 103 

A clear thinker can Always make his ideas intelligible 
to those who have acquired the basal concepts of the 
things, principles, and laws with which he popular 
deals. Lecturers on popular science avoid the lectures, 
abstruse questions of advanced science and the technical 
terms which do not convey a definite meaning to the 
average hearer. They select topics which can be dis- 
cussed in the language of common life, and often state the 
results of scientific research without leading the audiBnce 
through the successive steps by which these results are 
obtained. The popular lecture requires special gifts that 
are not in the possession of every scientist. Huxley was 
one of the most gifted men of the century ; yet he says of 
himself — 

**I have not been one of those fortunate persons who 
are able to regard a popular lecture as a mere hors 
^(mvre unworthy of being ranked among the 
serious efforts of a philosopher, and who keep 
their &me as scientific hierophants unsullied by attempts 
—at least of the successful sort— to be understanded by 
the people. On the contrary, I have found that the task 
of putting the truths learned in the field, the laboratory, 
and the museum into language which, without bating a 
jot of scientific accuracy, shall be generally intelligible, 
taxed such scientific and literary faculty as I possessed 
to the uttermost ; indeed, my experience has furnished 
me with no better corrective of the tendency to scholastic 
pedantry, which besets all those who are absorbed in 
pursuits remote from the common ways of men, and be- 
come habituated to think and si)eak in the technical 
dialect of their own little world, as if there were no 
other.'' 

There is an error, on the other hand, into which prac- 
tical men fall when they object to the technical language 
of the scientist. There are many things in science which 



104 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

cannot be made plain to the non-scientific mind. The 
difficulty lies not in the terminology employed, but in 

Exact the lack of the basal concepts necessary for the 
thinkiiig. advanced thinking which most be employed, 
^ays Eobert Galloway, '^ Words when employed ia sci- 
encC; unlike their employment in common use, have a 
meaning steadily fixed and precisely determined; this 
precision in the meaning of scientific terms necessarily 
requires on the part of those who can make proper use 
of them dccurate habits of ihought ; this is an indispensable 
qualification for attainment in any science ; there is no 
dispensing with it, consequently one who does not know 
the language of a science, and who has not been taught 
to think accurately with respect to it, cannot understand 
properly what may be told or shown him about the facts 
or principles of that science.'' 

From this i)oint of view it is easy to see the use which 
the teacher should make of technical terms. Circumlo- 
cutions and explanatory phrases may be helpfid in 
developing fundamental ideas, but the corresponding 
technical terms should be associated with the ideas as 
soon as these assume clear, definite shape. Language is 
the atmosphere in which thinking lives ; technical lan- 
guage is as necessary to the scientific thought as the air 
we breathe is to the physical life. In one of his letters 
to a young man whose education had been neglected, De 
Quincey renders an important service to the 
science of teaching. '^ In assigning to the com- 
plex notion X the name transcendental, £iint was not 
simply transferring a word which had previously been 
used by the school-men to a more useful office ; he was 
bringing into the service of the intellect a new birth ; 
that is, drawing into a synthesis, which had not ex- 
isted before as a synthesis, parts or elements which 
exist and come forward hourly in every man's mind. I 



TECHNICAL TERMS INSTRUMENTS OF THOUGHT 105 

m^ this upon your attention, because you will often hear 
such challenges thrown out as this (or others involving 
the same error) : ' IN'ow, if there be any sense in this Mr. 
Kant's writings, let us have it in good old mother 
English.' That is, in other words, transfer into the 
unscientific language of life scientific notions which it is 
not fitted to express. The challenger proceeds upon the 
conmion error of supposing all ideas fully develoi)ed to 
exist in esse in all understandings, ergo, his own ; and all 
that are in his own he thinks we can express in English. 
Thus the challenger, in his own notions, has you in a 
dilemma, at any rate; for, if you do not translate it, 
then it confirms his belief that the whole is jargon ; if 
you do (as, doubtless, with the help of much periphrasis, 
that will be intelligible to a man who already under- 
stands the philosophy), then where was the use of the 
terminology! But the way to deal with this fellow is as 
follows : My good sir, I shall do what you ask ; but 
before I do it I beg you will oblige me by (1) translating 
this mathematics into the language of chemistry; (2) 
translating this chemistry into the language of mathe- 
matics; (3) both into the language of cookery, and, 
finally, solve me the Cambridge problem, Given the cap- 
tain's name, the year of our Lord, to determine the lon- 
gitude of the ship t This is the way to deal with such 
fellows." 

Technical terms are very helpful in dealing with that 
which cannot be imaged or visualized. When Francis 
Galton began his inquiries into the power pos- 
sessed by different minds to conceive the break- ^^^"^^^f^^- 
fast table, to recall vividly the various dishes and the 
way in which they are placed upon the table, many men 
of scientific habits of thought declared that there is no 
such human faculty. On the other hand, the educational 
reformer whose early training did not make him familiar 



106 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

with the thought-processes of higher mathematics may 
honestly declare that he camiot conceive an abstract 
nomber^ and, aa a matter of conrse, he can have no ade- 
quate conception of the value of the higher forms of 
Higher thinking in symbols. Dr. W. T. Harris >ias 
forms of well Said that the mind can think ideas which 
^****^^^*^* cannot be pictorially conceived or made to 
stand before the mind in thought-images. In thinking 
this class of ideas, technical terms are indispensable ^is 
instruments of thought. 

The value of technical terms as instruments of thought 
is seen in a still clearer light if we try to classify the 
Symbols various uscs of the signs and symbols which 
ciassifled. gj^ employed as aids in thinking. Many of 
these have no office beyond that of suggesting the things 
or ideas for which they stand. To this class belong the 
8^gge8tlve marks which suggest to the tramp a cross dog 
symbols, or a good meal. As soon as he h^ seen 
them, they could be erased ; the train of thought which 
they started in his mind can go on without them. Of 
a similar character are the devices by which the mer- 
chant marks the buying and the selling prices of goods, 
the red and blue lights used on railways and ocean 
steamers, the secret signs and signals employed by the 
signal corps of an army, and the stex>s, grix>s, signs, 
countersigns, and passwords employed by secret societies 
as a means of identification. Very many of the artificial 
devices used in systems of mnemonics have no higher 
function than that of suggesting what otherwise might 
be forgotten. 

Very different are the signs and symbols which mathe- 
matics employs as substitutes for the quantities to be 
Symbols as Considered. In adding a column in the ledger 
substitutes, or in a statistical table the mind thinks the 
figures without reference to the concrete objects which 



TECHNICAL TERMS INSTRUMENTS OF THOUGHT. 107 

they denote. In the solution of a problem in algebra 
the unknown quantities are represented by symbols like 
X and y, the known quantities by the first letters of 
the alphabet or by numerical expressions ; the relations 
between the quantities are indicated by equations; 
there is no thought of the quantities themselves while 
the mind is engaged in manipulating the symbols 
according to well-defined rules of operation, and only 
when the result is to be interpreted do the quantities 
reappear in the field of consciousness. The substitute 
symbol is a device for temporarily dropping an idea until 
it is needed for interpretation ; the suggestive symbol is 
a means of bringing an idea or thought into the domain 
of consciousness. The latter furnishes or recalls mate- 
rial for the mind to act upon ; the former lightens the 
bm>den which the mind would otherwise have to carry. 
The arithmetical solution of an age question in which 
the mind constantly carries the thought of A's age and 
his wife's age as compared with the algebraic solution 
of the same question in which A and his wife, as well as 
their ages, sink temporarily out of sight, shows the value 
of substitute signs and symbols in mathematical think- 
ing, and explains why algebraic methods are so feu* supe- 
rior to the clumsy and involved methods of arithmetical 
analysis. 

Different from either of these is the class of symbols 
nsed in expressing ideas. This class includes not only 
the words of written and spoken language, but Expressive 
also the natural signs of gesture language and symbols, 
the conventional signs of manual language taught to 
deaf mutes. The language is full of faded metaphors 
indicating the office of common words. They are said 
to express meaning, to convey thought, to embody 
ideas, to enshrine content. They may be likened to 
window-panes through which one sees what is back of 



108 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

them. Sometimes the window-panes^ like spectacles 
when first worn, attract more atte^tion from the x>erson 
looking than the objects seen through them, — 2k parallel 
to what occurs when the articulate speech, or its rhetori-v 
cal adornment, attracts more attention than the thought 
expressed. But if that which is seen through the window- 
pane is on the order of a Santa Glaus loaded with toys 
and Christmas-gifts, then no notice is taken of the 
medium through which the object is seen. Hence the 
very best teaching— that which rivets attention upon the 
thought conveyed — always fails to teach the spelling of 
words incidentally. Furthermore, the instruction which 
frequently stops to draw attention to the grammar of the 
sentences, the spelling of the words or their mode of 
utterance, interferes with the formation of logical habits 
of thinking and divests the words of their function as 
expressive signs. When the word itself becomes an 
object of thought the mind is not thinking by means of 
that word. It has been well said that we may fail to 
apprehend the meaning of what a person is saying 
because the tone of his voice arrests our attention 
through its resemblance to that of some one else in 
whom we feel an interest; that so far as signs thus 
attract notice on their own account, they fail to fulfil 
their function as a means of attending to something 
other than themselves. For this very pertinent observa- 
tion credit is due to Mr. G. F. Stout, who (^^Mind," 
Ixii. page 18) has very clearly drawn the distinction 
between the three classes of signs or symbols used as 
helps in thinking. He says, — 

^* Suggestive signs serve only to bring something to 

mind ; they are not a means of minding it when once 

recalled. An expressive sign, on the contrary, 

* is a means of attending to its signification. . . . 

Expressive signs differ from substitutes in a manner 



TECHNICAL TERMS INSTRUMENTS OF THOUGHT. 109 

exactly the inverse of that in which they differ from 
soggestive signs. A suggestive sign has fdlfilled its 
purpose and becomes of no farther avail so soon as 
it has suggested its meaning. A substitute sign is a 
oomiter which takes the place of its meaning ; so long 
as it fiilfils its representative function it renders useless 
all reference to that which it represents. The coun- 
ters are manipulated according to certain rules of oper- 
ation until a certain result is reached, which is then 
interpreted. The operator may be actually unable to 
interpret the intermediate steps. Algebraical and arith- 
metical symbols are to a great extent used as mere sub- 
stitate signs. The same is true of the symbols employed 
in formal logic. It is possible to use signs of this kind 
whenever fixed and definite rules of operation can be 
derived from the nature of the things symbolized, so as 
to be applied in manipulating the signs without further 
reference to their signification. A word is an instrument 
for thinking about the meaning which it expresses ; a 
snbstitute sign is a means of not thinking about the 
meaning which it symbolizes.'' 

In addition to these three pmposes the technical term 
may serve still another important end. It helps to fix the 
new concept or notion after it has been develoi)ed Fixing 
by skilftd instruction. Its association therewith concepta. 
makes it a suggestive sign whenever occasion requires the 
recurrence of the concept or thought for which it stands. 
The train of thought is facilitated and made j)ossible by 
the use of technical terms as expressive signs. And if the 
idea denoted by it can accurately be defined, so that the 
definition becomes a triumph of intellect, or if it can be 
quantified, so as to become a unit of measure like the volts, 
ohms, amperes, and watts in applied electricity, the tech- 
nical term may even serve a purpose analogous to the sub- 
stitute signs in sciences like formal logic and mathematics. 



110 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

The foregoing analysis indicates the prox>er method of 
teaching technical terms. First, the basal concept 
Proper use 8^^^^ ^ Carefully developed and clearly pre- 
oftechni- scntcd ; it should then be fixed in the mind 
cai terms, j^y association with the corresponding technical 
term; fLnaHy, the union should be made i)ermanent by 
frequently causing the two to appear together in the 
domain of thought, by treating them as welcome guests 
^hen they apx)ear together in the citadel of mind. 
Divorce of one from the other should be as impossible as 
in the case of the two parties to a suitable marriage. On 
the f6te days of science they should appear together, 
eadi suggesting the presence of the other, the technical 
term serving as a helpmeet to the idea, and as its repre- 
sentative when, in the charmed circle of scientific in- 
vestigation, the presence of the idea is not absolutely 
required. Circumlocutions, like name-word for noun, 
quality-word for adjective, and relation- word for prepo- 
sition, may be helpful in presenting the idea or in intro- 
ducing the technical term ; they may be tolerated, like 
a third party in the making of a match ] but when the 
match has been made, and the wedding has been sol- 
emnized, they should drop out of sight as of no ftirther 
use. The figure of speech could easily be pressed too 
fer ; for many objects known to science have a common 
as well as a technical designation. Each has its proper 
place in the realm of thought, — ^the common name in 
ordinary conversation, the technical term when scientific 
precision is required. 



VII 
THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE 



111 



It seems to me quite certain that we can and do Ihlnk things 
without thinking of any sound or words. Language seems to me 
to be necessary to the progress of thought, but not at all necessary 
to the mere act of thinking. It is a product of thought : a vehicle 
for the communication of it, a channel for the conveyance of it, 
and an embodiment which is essential to its growth and continuity. 
But it seems to be altogether erroneous to represent it as an in- 
separable part of cogitation. Donkeys and dogs are without true 
thought, not because they are speechless, but they are si)eechlesB 
because they have no abstract ideas, and no true reasoning x>ower8. 
In parrots the power of mere articulation exists sometimes in 
wonderful perfection. But parrots are not so clever as many other 
birds which have no such jKJwer. 

Man's vocal organs are correlated with his brain. Both are 
equally mysterious, because they are co-operative, and yet sepa- 
rable, parts of " one plan.*' 

Abgyll. 

That the language may be fitted for its purpose, not only should 
every word perfectly express its meaning, but there should be no 
important meaning without its word. Whatever we have occasion 
to think of often, and for scientific purposes, ought to have a name 
appropriated to it. 

J. S. Mill. 



112 



VII 

THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE 

In the development of intellectual life three contin- 
gencies are possible. Three pos- 

1. The growth of the vocabulary may be siwe con- 
more rapid than the acquisition of ideas. ^^ ^* 

2. The accumulation and development of ideas may 
exceed the ability to express them in language. 

3. The acquisition of ideas and words, of thought and 
language, may be simultaneous. 

Without doubt, these possibilities in mental growth 
exist for wise and beneficent purposes. 

The tendency to acquire words without the correspond- 
ing ideas is, in at least one direction, a source of gain 
rather than loss. The pert phrases, profene ^^^^ 
words, and other objectionable language which without 
the child accidentally hears from the lips of ^^®"* 
older persons, and at times uses to the unspeakable 
annoyance of parents and teachers, would be an occasion 
for for more serious alarm if the meaning were fully 
understood. Were it a law of our mental life that the 
hearing and learning of a profane or obscene word neces- 
sarily carried with it a clear grasp of the meaning, the 
resulting harm to the inner life of the soul would be im- 
measurably greater, and the stain upon the character 
would be vastly more difacult to remove. The objection- 
able language may mirror the habits of thought and 
speech into which those in charge of the child have 
fallen, awaken in them a»new sense of their responsi- 

8 113 



114 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

bility, and cause them to be more careful of what they 
say ; or it may prove an index to the kind of company 
into which the child is drifting, and thus serve as a 
danger-signal to parent and teacher. When the mind 
has not learned to think the thought expressed, a simple 
warning against the use of such ugly words generally 
suffices to eradicate them from the child's vocabulary ; 
and in such instances it is a blessing in disguise that the 
learning of the words was not accompanied by the acqui- 
sition of their meaning. The loss to the intellectual life 
is more than balanced by the gain in moral training. 

Is thinking possible without language t If by language 
is meant oral speech and written words, the sign-language 
.j^jjjjj^jjj^ of deaf mutes is sufficient to comx>el an affirm- 
without ative answer to the question. Moreover, there 
wordg. j^j^ modes of thinking and of expressing thought 
other than by the use of words. Of the means of ex- 
pressing thought without words, symbols like the ten 
digits and the sigma of the new psychology are well- 
known examples. The player in a game of chess, cro- 
quet, or billiards thinks movements in advance of making 
them, and generally without describing the same in 
words. The drawings and plans by means of which the 
architect designs a new building, the mental images of 
mechanical contrivances which precede the invention and 
construction of machines, the mental pictures used in 
designing, engineering, and sketching, in original geo- 
logical thought, prove beyond the shadow of a doubt 
that thinking may go forward without words and sen- 
tences, and may find expression in ways better adapted 
to the needs of the artisan. The graphic method of pre- 
senting to the eye the results of an investigation is less 
cumbersome than any description in words. Some men 
depend so much upon mental pictures in their thinking 
that they assert they cannot think at all without them. 



THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE. US 

In some kinds of gymnastic drill the movement is de- 
scribed in words, then conceived by the mind, and finally 
executed. This exercise has a different educational value 
from the exercise in which the student simply imitates 
the movements of the teacher, the latter being an in- 
stance of thinking and expressing thought without the 
help of words. The speed with which many movements 
must be executed, as in fencing, legerdemain, athletic 
sports, the manipulation of the lever in the hands of the 
engineer, requires thinking without the intermediate 
agency of words and sentences. The time it takes for 
an idea to pass into words, and through them into 
actions, is measurably greater than the time required for 
the direct translation of thought into action. Although 
the difference in specific instances is measured by the 
fraction of a second, it would involve serious loss of time 
as well as energy in the handicrafts if thoughts could 
only pass into action through sx>eech or written lan- 
guage. 

Some persons run to mouth; others lack in this 
respect To the former class belong those whose \v^ 
move in study ; those who talk to themselves ; and many 
whose paucity of ideas does not justify their superfluity 
superfluity of words. Let such a man be of words. 
elected as a delegate to a synod or a convention, and the 
sessions will be prolonged beyond the usual time. As a 
rule, the energy of such men is exhausted in speech ; 
they are not noted for getting things done. On the 
other hand, the men of great executive ability are often- 
times men of few words; their thought is Thought 
translated into doing rather than talking. The ^^ action. 
man of deeds is always estimated above the man of 
words, the general above the orator, Caesar the com- 
mander above Csesar the orator. Sometimes the men 
of original turn of mind find that their thinking outstrips 



116 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

their jMJwer to express thonglit Francis Oalton says of 
himself^ ''It is a serious drawback to me in writing 
* Francis that I do not SO easily think in words as other- 

oaxum. ynsi^. It often happens that after being hard 
at work and having arrived at results that are i)erfectly 
clear and satisfactory to myself, when I try to express 
them in language I feel that I must b^n by putting 
myself on quite a different intiCllectual plane ; I have to 
translate my thoughts into a language that does not run 
evenly with them. I therefore waste a great deal of 
time in seeking for appropriate words and phrases, and 
am conscious, when required to speak on a sudden, of 
being often obscure through mere verbal maladroitness, 
and not through want of clearness of i)erception. This 
is one of the small annoyances of my life. I may add 
that often while engaged in thinking out something I 
hatch an accompaniment of nonsense- words, just as notes 
of a song might accompany the thought. Also, that 
after I have made a mental step, the appropriate word 
frequently follows as an echo ; as a rule, it does not ac- 
company it." 

This throws a new light upon one phase of school 
work. The boy who has a notion of the content of a 

Knowing l^'^^ou somctimcs stops in the midst of a reci- 
and tation and, without premeditation, exclaims, 

telling, a J tno^ \^ i3ixt cannot say if The teacher 
retorts, " You do not know what you cannot express." 
Both are right and both are wrong. There is, probably, a 
measure of truth in what each claims. If the pupil had 
mastered the text, he would not only have a clear idea 
of the lesson, but he would also have acquired from the 
book or from the teacher the words to express the idea. 
Nevertheless, if there is reason for thinking that the 
pupil has devoted reasonable time to the lesson, his lin- 
guistic powers should be developed by questions and 



..•••-••■• ■■■) 

THOUGHT AND LANGUAO£ 117 

other appropriate help. The god^twrnse and native 
instincts of most teachers lead them to give this help. 
The teacher whose captions disposition issnes in remarks 
calculated to repress a backward pupil's powers of expres- 
sion should find employment outside of the school-room. 

The child of foreigners may outstrip native children 
and astonish the school by unprecedented progress be- 
cause, being already fetmiliar with the ideas of Foreign- 
the lesson, it is compelled simply to acquire the ^rn 
language by which the ideas are expressed. <^^**^*^- 
By reason of their inability at first to tell what they 
know, such children are ofben classified with those less 
mature, and the mastery of the new language in their case 
is not as difficult as the mastery of new ideas for which 
brain-growth may be the essential condition. To ignore 
the £a>ct that such children often know more than they 
can tell is pedagogic folly in the highest degree. 

Courses of study are sometimes mapx>ed out so as to 
cause inequality in the pace with which ideas are accu- 
mulated and language is developed. Undue stress on 
grammar, rhetoric, and belles-lettres may cause abnormal 
development in the direction of fiowery language, a 
verbose style, an ornate diction. It is a fault difficult 
to correct To insist that such a student shall Language 
have something to say, to force him into studies clarifies 
that will bring him feee to face with great *^***^***^ 
questions as yet unsettled, to beget in him a state of 
mind in which he is troubled with ideas, to compel 
him to work over and over what he writes until his 
sentences are as clear as crystals, seems necessary to 
counteract the one-sided development of such students. 
The curriculum of study may err on the other side. The 
graduates in the various courses of engineering (civil, 
electrical, mechanical, and mining) sometimes develop 
technical, to the neglect of linguistic, skill. In the pres- 



118 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

enoe of a body of capitalists they are made deeply con- 
scious of the difference between the ability to think and 
the ability to express thought* In one large school of 
technology these graduates established prizes in English 
composition and endowed chairs of the English language 
and literature, so that future students might acquire the 
power to state in clear and intelligible language the re- 
sults of their work as specialists. In no long time it was 
discovered that for this purpose they also needed train- 
ing in an art similar to that of the teacher, — namely, the 
art of developing the ideas and thoughts which underlie 
and condition the engineering project under considera- 
tion. For him who would be a leader among men, the 
ability to express thought is quite as important as the 
ability to think. Moreover, there is a vast difference 
between ability to express thought on one's feet in the 
presence of an audience and ability to express it on 
paper in the privacy of the home. J. J. Rousseau and 
Washington Irving could write well, but neither of them 
could make a speech. Patrick Henry's eloquence 
before an audience was unsurpassed; he never could 
write a satisfactory report. Power in both directions 
may be acquired in a college course through the exer- 
cises of a good debating society. The student who, 
during four years, carefully writes out his thoughts, then 
discards his manuscript while speaking, and studies how 
he can best convince his hearers and how he can prune 

*Mr. Smiles, "Life of Stephenson," third edition, page 474, tells 
how George Stephenson, arguing one evening on the coal question 
with Dr. Buckland, was quite unable to make good his case. The 
next morning he talked over the matter with Sir W. Follett, and 
that illustrious advocate, from the materials supplied by the prac- 
tical knowledge of Stephenson, was able easily to discomfit the 
learned dean. Quoted by A. S. Wilkins's "Cicero de Oratore," 
page 105, second edition. 



THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE, 119 

himself of the defects i>oiiited out by the merciless criti- 
cism of his fellows, can feel sore of ultimate success. 
President Barnard says of one of our largest institutions 
that half its glory departed when its literary Liteiwy 
societies were killed through the influence of societieg. 
the Greek letter fraternities. A public speaker who is 
a slave to his manuscript is deserving of pity. College 
authorities may well exercise their ingenuity in finding 
a substitute for the drill and practice which the literary 
societies of by-gone days afforded in learning to think 
and to express thought in the face of opposition, criti- 
cism, and other unfavorable conditions. 

Thought and language exercise a reciprocal influence. 
Thought is stimulated and clarified by the effort to ex- 
press it. Often it is shaped by the limitations of one's 
vocabulary and the range of the words with which one's 
hearers or readers are familiar. The faded metaphors of 
language betray us into feillacies. Phrases like ijjfl^e^^j^ 
the witness of the spirit, total depravity, have of language 
led to extravagant expectations and unwar- ^^^^ 
ranted conclusions. People sometimes have a 
religious phraseology without a corresponding religious 
experience, and hence deceive themselves and others. 
Everywhere we see instances that go to show how impor- 
tant it is that the development of the power to think 
should keep pace with the growth of the power to express 
thought Very much is said in these days Teaching 
about the use of good English. As Adam English, 
threw the blame ui)on Eve, and Eve cast it upon the 
Serpent, so every one blames some one else for the poor 
English used at school and college. In the end the 
teachers are usually made to bear most of the blame : the 
college professor blames the teachers in the high school ; 
tnese, in turn, blame the teachers in the lower grades j 
and when the matter is cast up to the primary tiwilifii i 



120 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

ahe throws the blame upon the street and the home. A 
professor in the college department of a nniversity gave 
many Indicrons specimens of English in the work handed 
to him by students. He was asked of what collie class 
he had charge^ and when he replied the sophomore^ a 
high-s(^hool teacher suggested that the specimens reflected 
quite as much upon the teachers of the freshman class 
as upon the schools below the university. 

A women's society in one of our large cities sent a 
committee to the superintendent to complain of the 
The poor English used by the children in the 
committee, schools. He agreed that strenuous eflfbrts 
should be made to provide a remedy. He added^ **If 
you will take care of the English in the homes and 
on the streets, I will get the teachers to look after the 
English in the schools." Instead of throwing blame 
upon others, it were for more sensible for each educated 
X>erson to ask wherein he is to blame for setting others 
a bad example and wherein he can help the teachers of 
English to accomplish the desired result 

The aim in teaching English is twofold, — ^first, to get 
the student to appreciate good English and good litera- 
ture ; secondly, to get him to use it in speak- 
ing and writing. The latter end cannot be 
reached by mere practice in essay- writing. ^Jbility to 
thisk-is a condition of ability to expr^s^Jhought. Too 
many of the subjects assigned lay stress upon the forms 
of speech and not upon the content of language. When 
pupils think in words and disconnected phrases rather 
than sentences, when they violate the rules for capitals, 
punctuation, and paragraphs, the teachers of English 
may be solely to blame ; but, in so far as the use of good 
English dex>ends upon good thinking, the blame for the 
use of foulty language rests ux>on all who teach. If 
the ability to think is not developed in proportion to the 



THOUGHT AND LANGUAGE. 121 

use of language, the school will produce stylists who 
exalt the forms of speech above their content, slaves of 
beautiful and flowery language who resemble the fops 
and dudes of social life. To emancipate from such slavery 
requires more than an emancipation proclamation from 
the president of a collie association. 

The labors of the brothers Grim, Max Miiller, and 
others have reduced the knowledge of language to a 
science. Linguistic studies have become as in- Linguistic 
teresting as any branch of natural science, studies. 
They shed new light ui)on the history of mankind. In 
furnishing material for thought, as well as mental disci- 
pline, they are not inferior to any other study in the cur- 
riculum. It would, however, be a mistake to suppose 
that philological studies are superior to other disciplines 
as means for developing power to think and power to ex- 
press thought. The professor of any language is apt to 
r^ard that language as an end, and not as means to an 
end. Primarily, language is a medium of communica- 
tion. It distinguishes man from the brute creation, and 
furnishes him the instruments of thought by which he 
carries forward processes of reasoning beyond the reach 
of the lower animals. At the university language in 
general, or any particular language, may be studied as a 
specialty, and can thus be made an end in itself as appro- 
priately as any other subject which is studied ^ 
for its own sake. In. the lower schools language tributary 
should always be made tributary to the art of ^ 
thinking. It should be employed to embody 
thought, and to convey thought, without intruding itself 
upon our attention aa the thing of chief value. Any 
phase of linguistic study may be lifted by an enthusiastic 
teacher into the chief place in the course of study. Or- 
thography has sometimes been taught as if it were the 
chief end of man to spell correctly. Grammar has been 



122 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

taught as if a faulty sentence were one of the sins for- 
bidden by the Decalogue, and as if the fate of the repub- 
lic depended upon parsing, analysis, and diagramming. 
The pronunciation of words may be emphasized until the 
lips of teacher and pupil smack of an overdose of dic- 
tionary, until the overdoing of obscure vowels draws 
attention away from the thought to the manner of utter- 
ance. A sensible man articulates his words in such a 
manner as readily to be understood, but never in such a 
way as to excite remark or draw the mind of the listener 
from the subject-matter of the discourse. 

In educational practice, the manner of expressing the 
thought should not supplant the more important art of 
making the pupil think. Cutting and begetting thought 
are of more consequence than the expression of thought ; 
in fjEict, they condition the correct use of language. All 
talk about English, or German, or Spanish, or Latin, or 
Greek, as if any one of these languages were an end 
in itself for the average pupil, is wide of the mark. 
Correct sentences, beautiftd expressions, and rhetorical 
phrases can never make a nation great or perx>etuate its 
free institutions. Flowery language can never save a 
dying sinner or console the widow who is following the 
bier of a son, her only child and support. Pine words 
never win a battle by land or by sea. The most eloquent 
orations against Philip of Macedon did not keep him 
from destroying the liberties of Greece. 

Correct and forceful language is a gift to be coveted, a 
prize worth striving for ; but it should never be made 
the all-absorbing aim of education. The teacher of any 
phase of language must for a time make his instruction 
the object of chief concern ; but he should never ignore 
the fact that language is and ever should be an aid to 
thought, a stimulus to thinking, an embodiment of ideas, 
a medium of communication, a means to an end. 



VIII 

THE STIMULUS TO THINKING 



12S 



Go<5d methods of te^hing are imix)rtant, but they cannot supply 
the want of ability in the teacher. The Socratic method is good ; 
but a Socrates behind the teacher's desk to ask questions is better. 

Thomas M. Balliet. 

Of all forms of friendship in youth, by far the most effective as 
a means of education is that species of enthusiastic veneration 
which young men of loyal and well-conditioned minds are apt to 
contract for men of intellectual eminence in their own circles. 
The educating effect of such an attachment is prodigious; and 
happy the youth who forms one. We all know the advice given 
to young men to "think for themselves ;'* and there is sense and 
soundness in the advice ; but if I were to select what I account 
perhaps the most fortunate thing that can befall a young man 
during the early period of his life, — ^the most fortunate, too, in the 
end, for his intellectual independence, — it would be his being vol- 
untarily subjected for a time to some powerful intellectual slavery. 

David Masson. 



124 



VIII 
THE STIMULUS TO THINKING 

Whilst the distinction between thinking in things 
and thinking in symbols should never be ignored or lost 
sight of by the teacher, it need not be brought to the 
attention of the learner, — at least not in the elementary 
stages of instruction. It is more profitable for the learner 
to be absorbed in gathering the materials of thought and 
in learning by practice how the educated man uses the 
instruments of thought for drawing correct conclusions 
by the most effective methods. If the eye of conscious- 
ness is turned inward upon the mental processes too 
early, the flow of thought is interrupted and turned away 
from its logical trend. The teacher, on the other hand, 
is expected to watch the growth of the mind, to awaken 
its powers, and to rouse these into vigorous activity. It 
is essential not merely that he furnish the pupils with 
the proper materials and the best instruments Thought 
of thought, but it is necessary also to stimulate 8tim«iu«. 
and direct their thinking ; otherwise that which is given 
them may overload the memory, lie undigested in the 
mind, exhaust the energy of the intellect in the effort 
at retention, and ultimately cause mental dyspepsia. 

Men engaged in the struggle for existence or prefer- 
ment usually find ample stimulus to their thinking facul- 
ties in the competition which real life affords, oompeti- 
If the merchant does not think accurately and ^o^- 
effectively, the consequences make themselves visible in 
his bank-account. The desire for gain is the stimulus 
to thought in the commercial world. An appeal to 
the same motive is often made through the offer of 

125 



126 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

prizes and fellowships. The conix)etition of matarer 
years finds an adumbration in the competition for class- 
standing and for superiority in field sports. The teacher 
who employs no higher stimulus to thought must be a 
stranger to the mysteries of the art which he professes to 
practise. The best device for stimulating thought has 
C/Ome down to us hallowed by the ages. It bears the 
name of the greatest teacher of ancient Athens. It 
socratic is the qucstiou as employed in the Socratic 
question, method. Not every question is the Socratic 
question. A man who has lost his way may ask a ques- 
tion, but it is for the sake of getting information. The 
teacher may be striving to fix in the memory the salient 
X>oints of the lesson : he asks questions, the answers to 
which the pupils are exi)ected to have at their tongue' s 
or finger's end. A question thus used for purposes of 
drill is often called a categorical question. It is not the 
Socratic question. Yonder sits a boy who for half an 
hour has been wrestling with a problem. Unable to find 
a clue to the solution, he asks the teacher for help. 
Instead of telling him directly what he wishes to know, 
the Socrates behind the teacher's desk asks a question 
which causes the pupil to put side by side in his mind 
two ideas never before linked together in his thought. 
Upon the learner's face is seen an expression as if light 
had broken in from on high. He goes back to his seat, 
and ere five minutes have elapsed he is rejoicing in the 
glory of a triumph. The teacher did not do the pupil's 
thinking ; he simply asked the Socratic question, which 
aims to make the pupil think for himself. 

This stimulus to thought is employed by every master 
in the art of teaching. The question may be used to 
badger and confuse a pupil, especially if the teacher is not 
fully acquainted with the ideas and thoughts already in 
the learner's mind. To cause each pupil to place side 



THE STIMULUS TO THINKING. 127 

by side in his mind ideas and concepts whose relation he 
had not before perceived, it is necessary that the teacher 
be familiar with the intellectual storehouse of every 
member of the class. At this point the substi- substitute 
tutes who occasionally supply the places of teachere. 
regular teachers are at a serious disadvantage. Kot 
knowing what the pupils have mastered, they must often 
waste time in finding out where the new should be 
linked to the old, and where it is necessary to clarify and 
develop ideas with which the members of the class are 
only partially familiar. Often these lose interest in the 
recitation while the new teacher quizzes them on things 
that have grown stale by repetition. 

Back of the Socratic method must be a Socrates to 
ask the questions. Education results not from highly 
differentiated methods, but primarily from the play of 
mind upon mind, heart upon heart, will upon will. In 
the difftcult art of making others think the most impor- 
tant factor is the teacher himself. Thinking begets 
thinking. In this connection one cannot forbear con- 
trasting the living teacher with other educa- TheUving 
tional forces. Treatises on education are in teacher, 
the habit of printing nature with a capital letter, 
whilst words like teacher, humanity, unless they stand 
at the beginning of the sentence, begin with a smaU 
letter. Are lifeless rocks, dead leaves, stuffed birds, and 
transfixed bugs more potent in begetting thought than 
the teacher himself t If nature were such a wonderful 
teacher, then the savage, who is in daily contact with 
nature, and who knows little or nothing of the artificial 
life of our great cities and great seats of learning, should 
be the best thinker. A teacher whose power to stimu- 
late thought is not superior to dead leaves and bugs and 
butterfiies must have reached the dead line. Teachers 
may be divided into two classes, — those who have ceased 



128 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

to grow and those who are still alive and growing. 
Under the tuition of the former the boy soon loses 

The dead Interest in study, and seldom acquires the 
^^^' power to think. Prom a dead tree you cannot 
propagate life. Ingraft a lifeless teacher upon the school ; 
the most skilful devices of school management and reci- 
tation serve only to intensify the dull routine, the mechan- 
ical iteration and repetition which Bishop Spalding de- 
clares to be the most radical defect in our systems of 
education. It takes life to beget life. A growing mind 
is required to beget growth in other minds. A good 
thinker b^ets habits of close and careful thinking in those 
whom he moulds. Some minds are more gifted in this 
respect than others. Without doubt the reader can recall 
Knowledge *^^ diflfercnce between knowledge and teaching 
and teach- power which he felt while under several instruc- 
ing power. ^^ ^^ ^^ same time. Prom those gifted with 
stimulating power he came away with a mind full of inter- 
rogation points, and with the attention riveted upon prob- 
lems calling for investigation. Under their tuition the 
commonest thin^ acquired new interest and became food 
for thought. The thinking seemed to spring out of that 
upon which the mind was feeding. Without the stimu- 
lating influence which comes from a live teacher, con- 
tact with nature, access to libraries and laboratories, 
may amount to very little. The chief trouble in our 
schools is not that the courses of study are too crowded, 
but the teachers are too empty. There is not enough 
fuel in their minds to keep alive the glow of thought. 
The course A coursc of study in the hands of a skilful 

of study, instructor is like a good bill of fare under 
the direction of a skilful caterer. The latter does not 
expect every guest to eat his way through the entire bill 
of fare ; he so manages the succession of dishes as to 
stimulate the appetite to the end of the feast ; he sends 



THE STIMULUS TO THINKING. 129 

the guests away without the feeling of satiety, — ^in 
feet, anxious for the next banquet The wise teacher 
does not expect the pupils to assimilate everything in 
the course of study ; he aims so to feed and stimulate 
their minds that they find genuine pleasure in thinking, 
and go away from him with a desire not only for more 
knowledge, but also for things that give suitable ex- 
ercise to the reflective powers. Watch a boy at work 
npon a puzzle, and you will be convinced that he finds 
genuine delight in thinking that which is THg. ^ 
difficult The most popular teachers are not 
they who smooth away every difficulty in the pathway 
of the student, but they who stimulate his thinking and 
help him to a sense of mastery over intellectual diffi- 
culties. The quickening, stimulative influence of the 
Socratic question lies in its content rather than its form ; 
and both form and content derive their vivifying power 
from the personality of the teacher. 

The stimulating influences which go forth from a live 
teacher are partly conscious and partly uncon- 
scious. The latter are the more effective. ^^^. 
Minds gifted with quickening i)Ower create bcIous 
about themselves an intellectual atmosphere ^*^"®^*^^- 
that is like the invigorating atmosphere of the mountains 
or the tonic breezes which blow from the sea. The woman 
who touched the hem of the Saviour's garment felt at 
once the vivifying influences which were all the time 
going forth from the Great Teacher. Here we stand face 
to fece with the greatest mystery of the teacher's art. 

Some light is shed upon the myst-ery by the intimate 
relation which exists between the conscious and the sub- 
conscious life of the soul. The ideas upon any subject 
which the individual cherishes during his conscious 
moments, the train of logical thinking which he pursues 
when the will gives direction to reflection, the creative 

9 



130 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

effort which he seeks to put forth in a given direction, — 
these shape the activities which go forward in the depths 
^ ^ _ of the soul when perhaps the attention is 

The heart ^ '^ 

directed to the discharge of routine duties. 
"Out of the heart are the issues of life.'' "Out of the 
folness of the heart the mouth speaketh." From the 
treasure-house of the heart come welling up thoughts, 
ideas, sentiments, and purposes which lately determine 
the influence exerted upon others when the individual is 
not aware of it The teacher must make himself what 
he wishes his pupil to be. If foot-ball and base-ball 
and boating form the staple of his thinking, the centre 
of his affections, these athletic si>orts, in ways that are 
marvellous and often past finding out, become the objects 
of thought in which his students will delight. If the 
truths and principles of science absorb his interest and 
engage the best thought of his conscious hours, these 
will determine the moulding influence which he wiU 
unconsciously exert upon others. If he delights in germ- 
ideas, in seed-thoughts, these will emanate from him 
whenever he is thrown into contact with inquiring 
minds. Much, of course, is due to native ability, to in- 
herited qualities. The circle of minds which one teacher 
can reach is further limited by the breadth or narrow- 
ness of his views, by the points which he has in common 
with others, by the amount of sympathetic interest which 
he manifests in their progress and welfare, by the sum 
total of the characteristics of generic humanity which he 
has taken up into himself. In other words, his stimu- 
lating power depends upon the extent to which his inner 
life is representative of the best thought and the best 
traits of the age in which he lives and of the people tot 
whom he belongs. 

A teacher may destroy his i)ower to awaken and stimu- 
late thought by developing every subject in all its 



THE STIMULUS TO THINKING. 131 

bearings to its logical or final conclusion. He should 
send his classes away from the daily lecture or recitation 
to the library or the laboratory, to the study, Exhaustive 
the shop, or the field, with the sense of some- treatment, 
thing to be achieved, with the feeling that there are 
fields of research for them to explore, fields that will 
amply repay careful study, investigation, and reflection. 
There is nothing that tires a boy so soon as the feeling 
that there is nothing for him to do, nothing that he can 
master, achieve, or conquer on his own account The 
normal child is so constituted that it loves activity, looks 
into the future, and regards itself as an important factor 
in the world's life. The advance from childhood to 
youth is marked by a transition into the period 
that is brimful of hope and ambition. The 
pampered son of a rich man may feel no longing of this 
sort ; his opportunities for early travel and premature in- 
dulgence in every whim may have brought him to the 
I)oint where the whole world seems like a sucked orange 
for which one has no further use. Unless the rich father 
and mother possess an extraordinary amount of good 
sense, their children do not have an even chance with the 
children of the middle classes whose outlook upon life 
supplies abundant motives for study and exertion. 

If a boy has not made a mistake in selecting his 
parents, if the atmosphere of the home in which his first 
six years are spent is normal, he comes to school with a 
sense of something to be achieved. Should this feeling 
be lacking, the true teacher will aim to beget it by the 
instruction he gives and by appeals to the innate desire 
for knowledge. As the intelligence dawns, the inter- 
rogation points on the boy's face multiply ; his appetite 
for knowledge grows by what it feeds on. If the branches 
of study do not become more interesting than any occu- 
pation by which the boy can earn coppers, there is some- 



132 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

thing wrong either with the boy or his teacher, or with 
both. In the ascent of the hill of science every step 
upward widens the horizon, increases the field of vision, 
and stimulates to new effort. Every field explored 
The field of beckous to ucw fields of investigation. It is, 

▼Irion, the prerogative of the teacher to point out 
what is in store for the aspiring youth. Take, for in- 
stance, the domain of pure mathematics. A pupil had 
learned in his geometry that parallel lines never meet 
The teacher told him that his geometi-ical studies would 
after a while acquaint him with lines that are not parallel 
and yet never meet. No sooner had he met lines of this 
kind, situated in different planes, than his teacher told him 
of lines that continually approach but never meet. The 
appeal to his curiosity helped to stimulate the desire 
for knowledge and kept him thinking earnestly and 
seriously until he met the asymptote and its curve. The 
study of asymptotes soon grew more interesting than chess 
or any sports ujwn the athletic field. 

The aim of the teacher should be to make himself use- 
less. In other words, the school should aim to lift the 
pupil to the plane of an independent thinker, capable of 
giving conscious direction to his intellectual life and of 
concentrating all his powers upon anything that is to be 
mastered. It is to be reckoned a piece of good fortune 
for a bright and talented youth to fall under the domi- 
nating influence of a master mind. In endeavoring to 

Master walk in the footsteps of an intellectual giant, to 

minds, comprehend his theories and speculations, and 
to carry the burden of his thoughts, unexpected strength 
and power are developed, and when the day of emanci- 
pation comes — as it always does come in the case of 
gifted youth — the learner will find that he has entered a 
higher sphere of intellectual activity, and will hence- 
forth rank among the world's productive thinkers. 



THE STIMULUS TO THINKING, 133 

As was said at the beginning of the chapter, the 
competition of men in mature life is usually sufficient 
to stimulate their thinking. The men whose duties make 
a constant drain ui)on their productivity need other 
forms of thought-stimulation. Reference is not here 
made to the narcotics, alcoholic stimulants, False 
and other drugs which brain- workers use in 8*im^iiwit8. 
periods of reaction and fatigue : these stimulate only 
for a short time, and leave the nervous system and 
the brain weaker than before ; they shorten life by burn- 
ing the candle at both ends; they cannot supply the 
need of sleep, rest, and recreation. To take rational 
exercise, to eat proper food, and to obey all the laws of 
health is the sacred duty of every person who teaches 
by word of mouth or pen. Every effort should be made 
to keep vitality at its maximum. Often the mind re- 
sembles the soil which yields a richer harvest if per- 
mitted to lie fallow for a time. If at the close of a period 
of rest or a summer vacation the mind refuses Mental 
to work, what shall then be done to stimulate lethai^y. 
mental activity! Different men derive stimulus from 
different sources. One finds help from taking a pen 
in hand, another by facing a sea of upturned faces. 
A clergyman of considerable repute uses an Indian 
story to start his mental machinery. Henry Ward 
Beecher declared that the greatest kindness which could 
be shown him was to opi)ose his public utterances. 
Opposition roused all his powers and helped him to 
think vigorously and to the best advantage. Schiller is 
said to have kept rotten apples in his desk, because he 
believed that the odor stimulated his mind. Some men 
find help in solitude, from the singing of birds, from the 
sound of rustling leaves and falling waters, from the 
noise of ocean waves, or from the glimpse of distant 
waters or far-off mountains. An eminent theologian is 



134 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

stimulated by the playing of a piano in the next room. 
The stimulus from books is reserved for discussion in a 
separate chapter on the Bight Use of Books. 

As there are helps, so there are hinderances to good 
thinking. Petty cares, executive duties, noises in the 
Hin- same room, or in the next room, or ux>on the 
derances. street, are well-known examples. Their name 
is l^ion, and their cost is enormous if they come 
from manufacturing establishments near the school. A 
word about the extra-mural music which emanates from 
vile machinery on the streets is not out of place in this 
connection. An English writer asserts that the organ- 
grinders of London have done more in the last twenty 
years to detract from the quality and quantity of the 
higher mental work of the nation than any two or three 
colleges at Oxford have effected to increase it A mathe- 
matician estimates the cost of the increased mental labor 
these street-musicians have imposed upon him and his 
clerks at several thousand pounds' worth of first-class 
work, for which the government actually paid in added 
length of the time needed for his calculations. 

In matters of this kind every man must be a law unto 
himself. Since no two human beings are exactly alike, 
but each is a new creation fresh from the hands of the 
Creator, it follows that each person must study his own 
peculiarities, form his own habits of work, and acquire 
the power to think in the midst of the circumstances in 
which he is placed. By resolute effort the mind can 
ignore many a hinderance and distraction. The best 
Our fellow- stimulus from without comes from our fellow- 
men, men. **Our minds need the stimulus of other 
minds, as our lungs need oxygen to perform their func- 
tions.'' At school the stimulus comes from classmates, 
from those in the higher and lower classes, but above all 
elsC; from the best books and the best teachers. In the 



THE STIMULUS TO THINKING. 135 

life beyond the school the stimulus comes from the daily 
contact and competition with others, from conversation 
and discussions with those who think, from communion 
with the best books, with nature, and with nature's God. 
After the powers of the mind have been awakened 
and disciplined, stimulus and inspiration may come 
from ten thousand sources. Silence and soli- sources of 
tude, city and country, business and pleasure, stimulus. 
observation and travel, observatories and laboratories, 
libraries and museums, nature and art, -poetrj and prose, 
fiction and history, may each in turn serve as a spur to 
creative, inventive, and productive thinking, as an in- 
centive to original research, fruitful investigation, and 
profitable reasoning. Among all the sources of stimula- 
tion, the good teacher and the good book take sux>erlativtt 
rank. 



IX 

THE RIGHT USE OF BOOKS 



187 



Even the very greateet of aathore are indebted to miscellaneous 
reading, often in several different languages, for the suggestion of 
their most original works, and for the light which has kindled 
many a shining thought of their own. 

Hamxbton. 

He reads a book most wisely who thinks everything into a book 
that it is capable of holding, and it is the stamp and token of a 
great book so to incorporate itself with our own being, so to 
quicken our insight and stimulate our thought, as to make us feel as 
if we helped to create it while we read. Whatever we can find in 
a book that aids us in the conduct of life, or to a truer interpreta- 
tion of it, or to a franker reconcilement with it, we may with a 
good conscience believe is not there by accident, but that the 
author meant we should find it there. 

LOWBLL. 

Much as a man gains from actual conflict with living minds, he 
may gain much even of the same kind of knowledge, though 
different in detail, from the accumulated thinking of the past. No 
living generation can outweigh all the past. If books without ex- 
perience in real life cannot develop a man all round, neither can 
life without books do it. There is a certain dignity of culture 
which lives only in the atmosphere of libraries. There is a breadth 
and a genuineness of self-knowledge which one gets from the silent 
friendship of great authors without which the best work that is in 
a man cannot come out of him in large professional successes. 

Phslfs. 

The^reat secret of reading consists in this, — ^that it does not 
matter so much what we read or how we read it as what we think 
and how we think it. Reading is only the fuel ; and, the mind 
once on fire, any and all material will, feed the flame, provided 
only it have any combustible matter in it. And we cannot tell 
from what quarter the next material will come. The thought we 
need, the facts we are in search of, may make their appearance in 
the corner of the newspaper, or in some forgotten volume long ago 
consigned to dust and oblivion. Hawthorne in the parlor of a 
country inn on a rainy day could find mental nutriment in an old 
directory. That accomplished philologist, the late Lord Strang- 
ford, could find ample amusement for an hour's delay at a railway 
station in tracing out the etymology of the names in Bradshaw. 
The mind that is not awake and alive will find a library a barren 
wilderness. 

Chables F. Richabdbon. 
188 



IX 

THE RIGHT USE OF BOOKS 

A CLEBGYMAN who found the reaction from his pulpit 
efforts 80 great that often he could not bring himself to 
think vigorously and consecutively before the ^ ^^ ^^ 
middle of the following week was advised by 
his physician to try the effect of an Indian tale or an ex- 
citing story, and found that a good novel works like a 
charm in bringing the mind back to normal action. 
After the interest in the story or novel begins to grow 
there is danger of reading too long, of reading until an- 
other spell of fatigue and reaction comes. The book 
should be laid aside as soon as the first glow of mental 
action is felt. 

Most thinkers need the stimulating influence of other 
minds. These can be found at their best upon the shelves 
of a well-selected library. They are ready to 
help us whenever we feel ready to give them 
our attention. Men put the best part of themselves into 
their books. The process of writing for print intensifies 
mental activity, spurs the intellect to the keenest, most 
vigorous effort, and arouses the highest energy of thought 
and feeling. Authors that exert a quickening influence 
upon our thinking should be kept for use whenever we 
need a stimulus to rouse the mind from its lethargy. 

Leibnitz got his best ideas while reading books. He 
bad acquired the habits of a librarian to whom favorite 
volumes are always accessible. 

A scientist of repute says he gets the necessary stimu- 

189 



140 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK 

lus from Jevons's treatise on the inductive sciences. Pro- 
fessor Phelps has collected an instructive list of authors 

As Btimu- whose writings have been helpful to other au- 
^^ thors of note. He says, — 
*' Voltaire used to read Massillon as a stimulus to pro- 
duction. Bossuet read Homer for the same purpose. 

^^ Gray read Spenser's ^ Faerie Queene' as the pre- 
liminary to the use of his pen. The favorites 
of Milton were Homer and Euripides. P6nelon resorted 
to the ancient classics promiscuously. Pope read Dryden 
as his habitual aid to composing. Comeille read Tacitus 
and Livy. Clarendon did the same. Sir William 
Jones, on his passage to India, planned five diflferent 
volumes, and assigned to each the author he resolved to 
read as a guide and awakener to his own mind for its 
work. Buffon made the same use of the works of Sir 
Isaac Newton. With great variety of tastes successful 
authors have generally agreed in availing themselves of 
this natural and fa^cile method of educating their minds 
to the work of original creation.'' * 

The most valuable function of standard authors lies in/ 
their quickening influence upon the intellectual life.] 
The effort to appropriate their ideas and to master their 
thoughts is the best possible exercise for the understand- 
ing. In thinking their thoughts, weighing their argu- 
ments, and following their train of reasoning the mind 
gains vigor, strength, and the capacity for sustained 
effort. The invigorating atmosphere which a great 
Great thinker creates has a most remarkable tonic 

thinkers, effect upon all who dwcll in it. By unconscious 
absorption they acquire his spirit of inquiry, his methods 
of research, his habits of investigation, his way of attack- 
ing and mastering dif&culties. While trying to walk in 

* Phelps's ** Men and Books," page 303. 



THE RIGHT USE OF BOOKS. 141 

liis footsteps they learn to take giant strides. His idioms, 
Ills choice of words, his favorite phrases and expressions 
are at their service when they enter new fields of truth. 
Both in power and aspiration they become like him 
through the mysterious process of mind acting upon 
mind, of heart evoking heart, and of will transfusing 
itself into will. A great thinker gets his place in the 
galaxy of shining intellects through the truths which he 
communicates 5 and as truth is the best food for the soul, 
so the quest of truth is the best exercise for all its faculties. 
De Quincey, in his essay on Alexander Pope, draws an 
important and oft-quoted distinction between the litera- 
ture of knowledge and the literature of power. Theutera- 
He says the function of the one is to teach, of t^e o* 
the other to move. The former he likens to a ^^^ 
rudder, the latter to an oar or a sail. To illus- literature 
trate the difference he asks, "What do you ^'p°^^- 
learn from * Paradise Lost't Nothing at all. What do 
you learn from a cookery-book t Something new, some- 
thing that you did not know before, in every paragraph. 
But would you, therefore, put the wretched cookery-book 
on a higher level of estimation than the divine poemt 
What you owe to Milton is not any knowledge, of which 
a million separate items are still but a million of ad- 
vancing steps on the same earthly level ; what you owe is 
power, — ^that is, exercise and expansion to your own 
latent capacity of sympathy with the infinite, where 
every pulse and each separate influx is a step upward, 
a step ascending, as upon Jacob's ladder, from earth to 
Diysterious altitudes above the earth. All the steps of 
knowledge, from first to last, carry you farther on the 
same plane, but could never raise you one foot above 
your ancient level of earth ; whereas, the very first step 
in power is a flight, is an ascending into another element 
vhere earth is forgotten.'' 



142 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

The valne of the literature of power as a means of im- 
parting power to every soul that lives under its influence 
is easily seen and generally acknowledged. But the 
literature of knowledge serves the double purpose of 
furnishing us material for thought and of acting as a 
stimulus to thought. On this point we have the testi- 
mony of the wisest who have ventured to give advice 
upon the use of books. Lowell says, *'It is certainly 
true that the material of thought reacts upon 
the thought itself. Shakespeare himself would 
have been commonplace had he been padlocked in a 
thinly shaven vocabulary, and Phidias, had he worked 
in wax, only a more inspired Mrs. Jarley." 

The advice which Lowell gives concerning a course of 
reading and the ends of scholarship to be kept in mind 
by those who read with a purpose is too valuable to be 
omitted in this connection : 

'^One is sometimes asked by young people to recom- 
mend a course of reading. My advice would be that 
they should confine themselves to the supreme 
books in whatever literature, or, still better, 
to choose some one gr^t author and make themselves 
thoroughly familiar with him. For, as all roads lead to 
Bome, so do they likewise lead away from it, and you 
will find that in order to understand perfectly and to 
weigh exactly any vital piece of literature you will be 
gradually and pleasantly persuaded to excursions and 
explorations of which you little dreamed when you began, 
and will find yourselves scholars before you are aware. 
For, remember, there is nothing less profitable than 
scholarship for the mere sake of scholarship, nor any- 
thing more wearisome in the attainment But the 
moment you have a definite aim, attention is quickened, 
the mother of memory, and all that you acquire groups 
and arranges itself in an order that is lucid, because 



THE RIGHT USE OF BOOKS, ^ ;-y I43 

everywhere and always it is in intelligent relation to a 
central object of constant and growing interest. This 
method also forces upon ns the necessity of thinking, 
which is, after all, the highest result of all education. 
For what we want is not learning, but knowledge •, that 
is, the power to make learning answer its true end as a 
quickener of intelligence and a widener of our intel- 
lectual sympathies. I do not mean to say that every one 
is fitted by nature or inclination for a definite course of 
study, or, indeed, for serious study in any sense. I am 
quite willing that these should 'browse in a library,' as 
Dr. Johnson called it, to their heart's content. It is 
perhaps the only way in which time may be profitably 
wasted. But desultory reading will not make a 'full 
man,' as Bacon understood it, of one who has not John- 
son's memory, his i)ower of assimilation, and, above all, 
his comprehensive view of the relations of things. ' Bead 
not,' says Lord Bacon, in his '"Essay of Studies,' 'to con- 
tradict and confute j not to believe and take for granted ; 
nor to find talk and discourse ; but to weigh and con- 
sider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swal- 
lowed, and some few to be chewed and digested ; that is, 
some books are to be read only in parts ; others to be 
read, but not curiously (carefully), and some few to be 
read wholly and with diligence and attention. 8(yme 
hooks J also J may he read by deputy.^ 

"This is weighty and well said, and I would call your 
attention especially to the wise words with which the 
passage closes. The best books are not always those 
which lend themselves to discussions and comment, but 
tiiose (like Montaigne's ' Essays') which discuss and com- 
Dient ourselves." * 



* Loweire *' Books and Libraries/' pages 88-90, vol. vi., Riverside 
^ition. 



144 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

Professor Phelps, in his lectures to divinity students, 
gives golden advice to the class of professional men whose 
life-work comi)els them to draw upon their productive 
intellect more than any other class of professional men. 

'* There is an influence exerted by books upon the 
mind which resembles that of diet upon the body. A 
studious mind becomes, by a law of its being, 
like the object which it studies with enthusi- 
asm. If your favorite authors are sux>erficial, gaudy, 
short-lived, you become yourself such in your culture 
and your influence. K your favorite authors are of the 
grand, profound, enduring order, you become yourself 
such to the extent of your innate capacity for such 
growth. Their thoughts become yours not by transfer, 
but by transfusion. Their methods of combining thoughts 
become yours ; so that on different subjects from theirs 
you will compose as they would have done if they had 
handled those subjects. Their choice of words, their 
idioms, their constructions, their illustrative materials 
become yours ; so that their style and yours will belong 
to the same class in expression, and yet your style will 
never be merely imitative of theirs. 

**It is the prerogative of great authors thus to throw 
back a charm over subsequent generations which is ofben 
more plastic than the influence of a parent over a child. 
Do we not feel the fascination of it from certain fovorite 
charactersL^in history! Are there not already certain 
solar minds in the firmament of your scholarly life whose 
rays you feel shooting down into the depths of your 
being, and quickening there a vitality which you feel in 
every original product of your own mind t Such minds 
are teaching you the true ends of an intellectual life. 
They are unsealing the springs of intellectual activity. 
They are attracting your intellectual aspirations. They 
are like voices calling to you from the sky. 



THE RIGfHT USE OF BOOKS. 146 

^^Bespecting this process of assimilation, it deserves 
to be remarked that it is essential to any broad range of 
originality, l^ever, if it is genuine, does it create copy- 
ists or mannerists. Imitation is the work of undeveloped 
mind. Childish mind imitates. Mind unawakened to 
the consciousness of its own powers copies. Stagnant 
mind falls into mannerism. On the contrary, a mind 
enkindled into aspiration by high ideals is never content 
with imitated excellence. Any mind thus awakened 
must, above all things else, be itself. It must act itself 
out, think its own thoughts, speak its own vernacular, 
grow to its own completeness. You can no more become 
servile under such a discipline than you can uncon- 
sciously copy another m:an's gait in your walk or mask 
your own countenance with his." * 

^*6ive to yourself a hearty, affectionate acquaintance 
with a group of the ablest minds in Christian literature, 
and if there is anything in you kindred to such minds, 
they will bring it up to the surface of your own con- 
ficionsness. You will have a cheering sense of discovery. 
Quarries of thought original to you will be opened. 
Suddenly, it may be in some choice hour of research, 
veins will glisten with a lustre richer than that of silver. 
You will feel a new strength for your life's work, because 
you will be sensible of new resources.'' f 

There are two ways of reading books, — one a help to 
thinking, the other destructive of ability to think. If 
the reader allows the ideas of a book to pass two ways 
through his mind as a landscax>e passes be- ^^ reading, 
fore the eye of a traveller, ever seeking the excitement 
of something new and never stopping to reflect upon 
the contents of the book so as to weigh its arguments, to 

* Phelps's " Men and Books," pages 105, 106. 
tibid., page 124. 

10 



14(5 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

notice its beauties, and to appropriate its truths, the book 
will leave him less able to think than before. Passive 
reading is permissible when the aim is merely recreation, 
but he who would read to gain mental strength must read 
actively, read books that he can understand only as the 
result of effort. President Porter gives this advice : 

**The i)erson, particularly the student, who has never 
wrestled manfully and perseveringly with a difficult book 
President ^U be good for little in this world of wrest- 

Porter. ling and strife. But when you are convinced 
that a book is above your attainments, capacity, or 
age, it is of little use for you, and it is wiser to let 
it alone. It is both vexing and unprofitable to stand 
upon one's toes and strain one's self for hours in efforts 
to reach the fruit which you are not tall enough to 
gather. It is better to leave it till it can be reached 
more easily. When the grapes are both ripe and within 
easy reach for you, it is safe to conclude that they are not 
sour." * 

There are many phases of the library problem which 

do not call for consideration in this connection, but, in 

„ ^, addition to their value as a stimulus to think- 

Reading 

as a ing, the function of books in furnishing proper 
source of material for thought and suitable instruments 

material. , ^ 

of thought deserves special consideration on 
the part of those charged with the duty of teaching others 
to think. There was a time when libraries were man- 
aged as if it were the mission of the librarian to keep 
the books from being used. The modern librarian seeks 
to make accessible to all the accumulated wisdom of the 
past. He regards the library as a storehouse of knowl- 
edge, from which any one able to read can get what he 
needs. Cyclopaedias and dictionaries of reference, card 

*N. Porter's *' Books and Reading/' page 67. 



THE RIGHT USE OF BOOKS, I47 

catalogues, and helps like Poole's ^* Index to Periodical 
Literature'' make the best thought of the best minds in 
these and other days accessible to the student. He who 
wishes to gain a hearing on any theme must know what 
others have said upon it. Disraeli has well said that 
those who do not read largely will not themselves deserve 
to be read. The prize debates between different colleges 
are teaching students how to utilize books in getting ma- 
terial for public discussions. Theses for graduation 
develop the ability to use books in the right way. And 
yet, valuable as books are for furnishing fuel to the mind, 
they may be used to destroy what little ability to think 
a pupil has otherwise developed. To assign topics for 
composition which require a culling of facts from books, 
and to allow the essays to be written outside of school 
hours, expose the pupil to unnecessary temptations. In 
the public schools there should be set apart each week 
several periods of suitable length, during which the 
pupil, under the eye of the teacher, writes out his 
thoughts. In such exercises the attention should not be 
riveted upon capitals, spelling, punctuation, grammatical 
construction, and rhetorical devices ; the mind should 
be occupied solely and intensely with the expression of 
the thought. Mistakes should be corrected when the 
pupil reviews and rewrites his composition. !6ooks can 
be used to furnish material for thought ; the elaboration 
can be helped by oral discussions ; the interest thereby 
aroused will make each member of the class anxious to 
express his thoughts ; hesitation in composing and dis- 
traction from dread of mistakes can be over- Enriching 
come by making the class write against time, one's vo- 
Books are helpful in enriching one's vocabu- ^^^*^- 
lary. Treatises on rhetoric teach what words should 
I be avoided. The student finds more difficulty in get- 
I ting enough words to express his thoughts. The study 



148 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

of a good series of readers is more valuable as a means 
of acquiring a good vocsjbulary than all the rules on 
purity, propriety, and so forth, which are found in the 
text-books on rhetoric. A good series of school readers 
employs from five to six thousand words. With these 
the average teacher is familiar to the extent of knowing 
their meaning when he sees them in sentences. He does 
not have a sufficient command of a third of them to use 
them in writing or speaking. The selections of a Fifth 
Eeader contain more words than are found in the vo- 
cabulary of any living author. The step from know- 
ing a word when used by another to the ability to use 
that word in expressing our own thoughts has not been 
taken in the case of the larger proportion of the words 
with which we are familiar on the printed page. Most 
persons use more words in writing than in oral speech, 
more words in public speaking than in ordinary conversa- 
tion. We unconsciously absorb many words which we hear 
others use, but we pick up a far larger number from those 
we see in print simply because the printed page contains 
a larger variety of words than spoken language. In this 
respect there is a vast difference between the oral dis- 
course and the written manuscript of the same person. 
The style is different ; the sentences in oral discourse are 
less involved ; the diction is less complicated; the vocabu- 
lary is less copious! Hence the advantage of the boy who 
has access to standard authors over the youth who has 
access to few books, and these not well selected. With- 
out any effort, the former gains possession of a vocabu- 
lary which makes thinking easier and richer. The lack 
of a library of standard authors can be supplied, to some 

School extent, by a judicious nse of the school readers. 

readers. If the mastcry of the words and the getting 
of the thought precede the oral reading of the lesson, 
and if the vocal utterance is followed by oral and written 



THE RIGHT USE OF BOOKS. I49 

reproduction of the thought, correct habits of study will 
be formed, and the working vocabulary of teacher and 
pupil will be vastly increased. The habit of eying 
every stranger on the printed page will be fixed, and 
the appropriation of new words will rise above the sub- 
conscious stage. Only one other exercise is comparable, 
—namely, the comparison of words in a lexicon for the 
purpose of selecting the right one in making a translation 
from some ancient or modern language. Such transla- 
tions, if honestly made, enrich the vocabulary and fur- 
nish exercise in the study of the finer shades of meaning 
which words have, as well as in the use of the words for 
the purpose of expressing thought. 

Most persons, when they face an audience or feel at all 
embarrassed, think in phrases, in broken sentences. 
Hence exercises designed to cultivate the habit of 
thinking in sentences are very valuable. Franklin's 
plan of rewriting the thought of a book like Frankun s 
'^The Spectator,'' and then comparing his own v^^- 
sentences with those of a master-mind, can be followed 
with great advantage, because it lifts the burden of cor- 
rection from the teacher's shoulders and throws it upon 
the pupil, giving the latter the full benefit of the exer- 
cise. Moreover, it cultivates in the pupil the habit of 
watching how thought is expressed by standard authors- 
The teacher's interest in the thought side of language 
often makes him forget that the correct use of capitals, 
punctuation marks, sentences, and paragraphs is a mat- 
ter of thinking quite as much as invention and the ar- 
rangement of materials. These externals of the process 
of composing must at some time be made the object of 
chief regard. The reason so many pupils do correcting 
not learn their use is found in the fact that papers, 
teachers hate the drudgery of correcting pai)ers, and they 
expect the pupils to acquire this knowledge incidentally. 



160 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

The right use of books obviates the necessity for much 
of this drudgery, and secures the desired end with a 
minimum expenditure of time and effort. Skill in the 
use of capitals and punctuation marks is best acquired 
when the aittention is not absorbed by the elaboration 
of ideas or by the labor of composing. The externals 
involved in putting sentences upon pai)er can claim 
the chief attention in the dictation of standard selections 
from a school reader. This exercise enables the pupil 
to make his own corrections, and is worth a dozen in 
which the teacher makes the corrections, only to be 
cast aside after a momentary glance by the pupil. The 
exercise may be varied by copying a selection from a 
standard author upon the black-board, covering it with 
a screen or shade (on rollers) during the dictation, and 
exposing it to view only while the corrections are made. 
If each one of the punctuation marks is made an object 
of special attention in a particular grade, there are 
enough grades to cover them all before the pupil reaches 
the high school. 

A superintendent revolutionized the language- work of 
an entire county by dictating to the applicants at the 
annual examination for provisional certificates 
a selection from a First Beader for the purpose 
of testing their knowledge of capitals and punctuation 
and the other details of written si)eech. Every one saw 
the value of the test, and it led to a study of the school 
reader from a new point of view. 

It is not easy to overestimate the value of books, not 
merely for those who aspire to become thinkers, but 
Books for even for all classes of men in civilized life. 
*^i- Books treasure the wisdom of the ages and 
transmit it to future generations. They kindle thought, 
enliven the emotions, and lift the soul into the domain 
of the true, the beautiful, and the good. They fur- 



THE RIGHT USE OF BOOKS. 151 

nish recreation and instruction, comfort and consola- 
tion, stimulation and inspiration. They confirm or cor- 
rect the opinions already formed, and give tone to the 
entire intellectual life. They enlarge the vocabulary, 
exemplify the best methods of embodying thought in lan- 
guage, and show how master-minds throw their materials 
into connected discourse, how they organize facts, truths, 
inferences, and theories into systems of science or specu- 
lation. One can subscribe to all that is said in favor of 
object-teaching and laboratory methods, and still be 
consistent in maintaining that it should be o^e of the 
chief aims of the school to teach the right use of 

ibooksj that the college and university fail in Right use 
their mission if they neglect to put the student of ixwts. 
into the way of using a library to the best advantage. 
If the policy of many schools could be adopted in other 
fields of human activity, the folly would be too glaring to 
escape notice. Suppose, by months of effort, a botanist 
could create in his son a liking for the plants of the 
nightshade family, some of which, like the potato and 
the tomato, are good for food and others are poisonous. 
Having created the appetite, the father makes no effort 
to gratify it. The son, failing to distinguish between 
the good and the bad, the esculent and the poisonous, 
and finding the latter within easy reach, begins to 
gratify his appetite by eating without discrimination. 
The deadly effects are more easily imagined than de- 
scribed. A parallel folly has been committed Qood uter- 
in hundreds of communities which have taxed at^J'e. 
themselves to banish illiteracy and to make ignorance 
inipossible among the young people. Eeading is care- 
folly taught; the ability to read is followed by an 
appetite for reading ; a strong desire for the mental food 
derived from the printed page is created. Yet nothing 
is done to supply the right kind of books for the purpose 



152 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

of gratifying this appetite. The average youth is allowed 
to get what he can from the book-stalls, which contain 
much that is as deleterious to the soul as some plants of 
the nightshade family are to the body. It is as much 
a duty to supply proper literature as it is to impart the 
ability to read. When, in the twentieth century, some 
historian shall give an account of the educational devel- 
opment of Pennsylvania, he will record it as a fact pass- 
ing strange and well-nigh incapable of explanation that 
for more than three decades there stood upon the statute- 
books of a great commonwealth a law preventing boards 
of directors from appropriating any school funds to the 
purchase of books for a school library except such works 
of a strictly professional character as were necessary for 
the improvement of the teachers. Within the last dec- 
ade a new era has dawned in library legislation and in 
the purchase of books. Directors are now empowered 
to levy a tax for library purposes, and free libraries are 
springing into existence not only in the large centres of 
population, but even in the rural schools. The move- 
ment has come not a whit too soon 5 for habits of reading 
are sadly needed to supplement life in the factory and on 
the farm. To make from day to day nothing except the 
head of a pin, or the sixtieth part of a shoe, may develop 
marvellous skill and speed in workmanship, but such 
division of labor leaves little room for intellectual activity 
or for anything above the merest mechanical routine. 

It should not occasion surprise that operatives in 
factories seek the mental excitement which human nature 
always craves after hours of monotony. Par better 
The that they should find recreation in a good 
factory, book than in a game of cards, in a free library 
than in a drinking-saloon. That the workman may taste 
the joys of the higher Ufe of thought, it is essential that 
he have access to the best literature in prose and poetry. 



THE RIGHT USE OF BOOKS. 153 

to books cf travel, biography, history, science, and soci- 
ology. If he lack these, his mind will lose itself in local 
gossip, in discontent over his lot, in envy of those who 
•have more to eat and drink, better clothes to wear, and 
better houses to live in. Of the pleasures of the higher 
life he can have as many as, if not more than, others 
have ; for at the close of the day his mind is not 
exhausted by professional thinking, and he can enjoy a 
good book far more than the men whose daily occupation 
obliges them to seek recreation in physical exercise. 

The same remarks apply to life on the farm. The in- 
cessant drudgery of monotonous toil day after day from 
early dawn till late at night has sent farmers 

•^ ^ The farm. 

and their wives to untimely graves, sometimes 
to the insane asylum. They need the intellectual stimu- 
lus which comes from good books, the health-giving rec- 
reation which comes with the change from the fatiguing 
toil of the day to the i)erusal of good literature in the 
evening. Under the more rational policy of providing a 
supply of good books along with the creation of a taste 
for reading, the working people of the next generation 
will be as well read, as well informed, and as capable of 
sustained thought as those who think money all day, or 
spend their strength in vocations which ^t upon the 
mind very much as a grindstone acts upon a knife, — 
narrowing the blade while sharpening the edge. Let it 
he hoped that early in the twentieth century the laboring 
classes will have shorter hours of work, more Twentieth 
leisure for reading, and an appreciation of good century, 
hooks equal to that of Charles Lamb, who asserted that there 
was more reason for saying grace before a new book than 
before a dinner. Under the beneficent influence of free 
text-books and free libraries it should be possible to create 
in the rising generation a spirit like that of Macaulay, who 
declared that if any one should offer to make him the 



164 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

greatest king that ever lived, with palaces and gardens, 
and fine dinners and wines, and coaches and beautifal 
clothes, and hundreds of servants, on condition that he 
should not read books, he would decline the offer, pre- 
ferring to be a i)Oor man in a garret with plenty of books 
rather than a king who did not love reading. 



X 

OBSERVATION AND THINKING 



166 



The degree of vision that dwells in a man is the correct measure 
of a man. 

Thomas Cablyle. 

When general observations are drawn from so many particulars 
as to become certain and indubitable, these are the jewels of 
knowledge. 

Dr. I. Watts. 

To behold is not necessarily to observe, and the power of com- 
paring and combining is only to be obtained by education. It is 
much to be regretted that habits of exact observation are not culti- 
vated in our schools ; to this deficiency may be traced much of the 
fallacious reasoning, the false philosophy which prevails. 

Humboldt. 

You should not only have attention to everything, but quickness 
of attention, so as to observe a-t once all the people in the room, 
their motions, their looks, and their words, yet without staring at 
them or seeming to be an observer. This quick and unobserved 
observation is of infinite advantage in life, and is to be acquired 
with care ; and, on the contrary, what is called absence, which is 
a thoughtlessness and want of attention about what is doing, makes 
a man so like either a fool or a madman, that, for my part, I see no 
real difference. A fool never has thought, a madman has lost it, 
and an absent man is for the time without it. 

Lord Chbsterfield. 



156 



X 

OBSERVATION AND THINKING 

Very few thinkers have let us into the secret of their 
thinking. Probably most of them could not if they 
would. They are too much absorbed in that 

, . . , , Inventors. 

which engrosses their attention to pay any heed 
to the processes of the inner life. Occasionally an in- 
ventor or discoverer gives us a glimpse of the state of 
his mind when the new idea flashed into consciousness. 
Such glimpse always reveals his indebtedness to habits 
of careftd observation. His thinking was stimulated by 
some felt want or puzzling phenomenon, and perhaps by 
contact with others engaged in similar lines of study. 
Oftentimes a number of persons are thinking of ways, 
means, and contrivances by which a widely felt want 
may be supplied or a i)erplexing faet explained. After 
prolonged effort and meditation, during which the mind 
is concentrated upon one thing to the neglect of every- 
thing else having no bearing upon the problem in hand, 
the happy thought is suggested by the observation of 
some neglected fact or the perception of some unsus- 
pected relation. Probably half the inventions are made 
in that way. What seems accidental or a piece of good 
luck is in reality the result of long musing and reflection, 
during which many comparisons are made, until at length 
the right combination gives the desired result. Wants 
keenly felt by mankind in general or by some gifted in- 

157 



158 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

dividual in particular serve as a powerful stimulus to 
thought, and quicken the eye and the ear to perceive 
what was before unnoticed, thereby laying the foundation 
for invention, discovery, or progress in new fields of 
thought. 

Great writers are equally indebted to their powers of 

observation. Of the men of genius whom the world de- 

write ligl^ts to honor, probably no one watched his 

inner development more closely than Goethe. 

He gives us the following account of how his works were 

produced : 

^^To each one of my writings a thousand x)ersons, a 
thousand things have contributed. The learned and the 
ignorant, the wise and the foolish, childhood 
and age have all a share therein. They all, 
without suspecting it, have brought me the gifts of their 
faculties, their thought and experience. Often they have 
sown, and I have reaped. My works are a combination 
of elements which have been taken from all nature and 
which bear the name — Goethe." 

Human nature furnishes as much room for observation 
as all the rest of nature. The hopes and fears, the joys 
Human and sorrows, the trials and struggles, the 
nature, thoughts and beliefs, the aspirations and 
achievements, the motives and deeds of •the men and 
women whom we meet in our daily life and on the pages 
of history and fiction (such as is true to life) offer a field 
for observation as vast, as interesting, and as important 
as all the rocks and soils, the bugs and beetles, the in- 
sects, birds, beasts, and fishes that dwell beneath or 
above or on the surface of the earth. The larger propor- 
tion of the books taken from free libraries are works of 
fiction, — a fact which shows that the interest of most of 
those who read is centred upon the things of the human 
heart and in the observation of human life. 



OBSERVATION AND THINKING 159 

Goethe's views of originality are these : 

"We are always talking about originality, but what 
do we mean ? As soon as we are born the world begins 
to work upon us, and this goes on to the end. 

AA n 1. 4- n 4- OriginaUty. 

After all, what can we call our own except our 
energy, strength, and will? If I could give an account 
of all that I owe to great predecessors and contem- 
poraries, there would be little left of my own.'' 

Observation lies at the basis of the thinking which 
leads to invention in the arts, to discovery in the domain 
of science, to productivity in the fields of liter- oiDeerva- 
ature, journalism, and oratory. It lies at the tion. 
foundation of success in the professions and in the ordi- 
nary walks of life. The medical school, for instance, 
seeks to develop the power of noting facts and making 
careful observations. It encourages the student to put 
his observations on paper while the patient is before 
liiin, to compare the diseased or injured part with the 
corresponding healthy part, and to watch symptoms as a 
basis for a correct diagnosis of the case to be treated. 

The use of the encyclopsedia, if pursued without any 
attempt to verify its statements, may destroy the habits 
of observation which are so essential to cor- 
rect thinking. Mere reliance on books cannot 
beget trustworthy habits of thought, for books contain 
the errors, as well as the wisdom, of the ages. Errors of 
judgment may be corrected by thinking ; errors of fact 
niust be corrected by observation. Many a book is made 
iiseless by new observations and discoveries. *^Send to 
the cellar as useless every book on surgery that is eight 
years old," said the professor to the librarian of a great 
university. The order is an indication of the rapid ad- 
vances which science is making under the influence of 
observation, experiment, hypothesis, and verification. 
Observation is needed not merely to extend our scie] 






v.^) 



160 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

knowledge, but fiatr more imperatively to acqnaiiit ns 

with our environment. We cannot learn from books the 

multitudinous details of business, or of our 

Daily life. ,.,,.- -r^ , . , 

daily life. Books cannot make us acquainted 
with the circle of friends in which we move, the pupils 
whom we teach, the things in dress, toilet, and behavior 
upon which our standing and reputation very largely de- 
pend. No thinker has a right to neglect these. Many a 
famous professor has diminished his usefulness by care- 
lessness in the observation of such details. The worst 
failures in the class-room are due to failure in observing 
either the difficulties or the conduct of the pupils. If 
conduct is to be r^ulated, it must be observed 5 if 
difficulties are to be explained, the teacher must perceive 
when and where they occur. 

Men noted for their absent-mindedness nevertheless 
owe much of their fame and success to their ability to 
make accurate observations in favorite lines of study. 
Notwithstanding the many ludicrous tales about New- 
ton's failure to see ordinary conditions and circum- 
stances, he showed himself indefatigable in watching the 
effect of a glass prism upon the ray of light admitted into 
a dark room. The falling of an apple started in his 
mind a train of thought which led to the discovery of the 
law of gravitation. 

Our best thinking is based upon experience, and our | 
two main sources of experience are observation and ex- 1 
Expert- periment. How does experiment differ from 

ment. simple observation! In the latter we watch 
conditions, phenomena, and sequences as they follow 
one another in the ordinary course of nature. In an 
experiment we change or control the course of nature 
by varying the conditions and causes for the sake of 
seeing the effects produced. In experiment the relation 
of causes and effects is studied by adding or excluding 



OBSERVATION AND THINKING, 161 

one £a>ctor after another. Take the discovery which 
made Dagnerre famous. Up to his time men had tried in 
vain to fix the impression of the image formed 
in the camera obscura. No alchemist ever ^"** 

went to work at a more unpromising task than the one 
Dagnerre set before himself. '^ As years rolled on, the 
passion only took deeper hold upon him. In spite of 
utter fiEiilures and discouragement of all kinds, for years 
in loneliness and secrecy, suspected of mental weakness 
even by his wife, he kept on in the same line of exi)eri- 
ment." Finally an accident gave him a clue to dis- 
covery. The plates with which he experimented were 
stowed away in a rubbish closet. One day he found, to 
Ms surprise, upon one of these plates the very image 
which had fallen upon it in the camera. Something in 
the closet must have produced the effect. He removed 
one thing after another, getting the same effect, until 
nothing remained except some mercury which had been 
spilled upon the closet floor. This was inferred to be 
the agent which developed the image, and thus was laid 
the foundation of the modern art of photography.* 

The observation of a fact often stimulates thought in 
new directions. In fact, new sciences have arisen from 
accidental observations. *' Erasmus Bartholi- Accidental 
nns thus first discovered double refraction in observa- 
loeland spar ; Galvini noticed the twitching of ^^' 
a frog's leg ; Oken was struck by the form of a vertebra ; 
Mains accidentally examined light reflected from a distant 
^dow with a double refracting substance ; and Sir John 
HerschePs attention was drawn to the peculiar appear- 
ance of a solution of quinine sulphate. In earlier times 
there must have been some one who first noticed the 
strange behavior of a loadstone, or the unaccountable 

* Charles F. Himes's "Actinism," pages 5, 6. 
11 



162 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

motions produced by amber. As a general rule we shall 
not know in what direction to look for a great body of 
phenomena widely different from those familiar to us. 
Chance, then, must give us the starting-point ; but one ac- 
cidental observation well used may lead us to make 
thousands of observations in an intentional and organized 
manner, and thus a science may be gradually worked 
from the smallest opening.'' * 

In recent years experimental research has become a 

r^ular occupation in connection with large manufac- 

turing establishments. In some factories along 

Factories. ,, ^, . -. - . ^ i ? 

the Ehme upward of sixty men are employed 
in chemical experiments for the purpose of finding what 
use can be made of waste products. In this way over 
two hundred useful products from petroleum have been 
discovered, and a large increase in profits has been the 
result. The great electrical works spend time and money 
upon experiments, and jealously censor every article 
written by their employees for scientific journals lest 
their valuable secrets should be given away. A company 
engaged in the manufecture of cash registers offers a yearly 
premium for the most helpful suggestion from the men 
and women in its employ. In one year the firm received 
over eleven hundred suggestions, of which at least eight 
hundred were utilized in improvements of various kinds. 
These instances are only samples of many that could be 
cited to show how systematic observation and experiment 
univerei- lend a helping band to our national prosperity. 
^^' Manufacturers carry them on for the sake of 
gain, the universities for the sake of widening the field 
of knowledge. To aid in such research large endowments 
have been established, and many of the common people 
willingly pay tax in support of State universities. 

* JeVons's ** Principles of Science, '* pages 399, 400. 



OBSERVATION AND THINKING. 163 

Treatises on inductive logic and on the physical sciences 
have been prepared by Herschel, J. S. Mill, Jevons, and 
others for the purpose of showing the correct methods of 
research by the use of instruments of precision, of stand- 
ards of measurement, and of other apparatus ; for the 
laws of thought must be obeyed in the interpretation of 
natural phenomena. Although as a matter of discipline 
the teacher in our public schools may well study these 
advanced treatises, yet the habits of observation which 
the elementary school should aim to beget and to foster 
are simpler in detail, more eafeily acquired, and, it may 
be added, of inestimable value in the subsequent life of 
the pupils. Pabits of observation are needed not only 
by authors, inventors, and scientists, but also where ob- 
by all other people for the interpretation of the servation is 
books they may read and for the discharge of ^®®^^- 
the daily duties devolving upon them. The engineer, the 
fireman, the conductor, the tradesman, the mechanic, the 
detective, the scout, the warrior, must be able to see 
things as they are or face partial feilure. Too many of 
them have eyes and see not ; they have ears and hear not. 
The study of nature is valuable as a preparation for life 
either in the country or in the city. Our rural popula- 
tion have not learned to see and appreciate the marvels 
in nature which are transpiring on every side. The way 
in which the almanac is consulted for signs to guide in 
sowing and planting, for prognostications of the weather, 
show how little the average man can make ob- The 
servations. The printers have found it neces- ^eat^^or. 
sary to retain these absolutely unreliable weather predic- 
tions in their almanacs ; the attempted omission has been 
an experinaent involving the loss of thousands of dollars. 
The success of the quack is largely due to limited obser- 
vation. One cure is made much of while multitudes of 
feilnres are always forgotten. 



164 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

Our rural population would be far more contented if 
the boys and girls were taught at school how to observe 
Country and appreciate their surroundings. They have 
and city, many advantages over city folks which they 
never realize as sources of enjoyment. The senses them- 
selves, which have been styled the gate- ways of knowledge, 
may be improved by judicious exercise ; and the power of 
the mind to interpret sense-impressions may be developed 
to a marvellous degree. The savages of our North Ameri- 
can forests had developed keen eyes and ears ; the more 
civilized backwoodsmen were soon more than a match for 
the wily Indian. To-day, when the latter watches the 
trained sharp-shooters hitting with unerring accuracy a 
mark more than half a mile distant, he shakes his head 
and walks away in silence. 

It has been asserted that a child gains more knowledge 
in the first seven years of its life than in all its subse- 
The child ^^®^* days. K the domain of abstract and 
scientific knowledge be excluded from the com- 
parison, this is probably true. At any rate, if the 
thinking which is based upon the knowledge of facts 
thus gained is to be correct, the facts must be correctly 
observed. 

Observation is thus of prime importance, not merely 
as furnishing a stimulus to thought, but also as supplying 
abundant materials of thought Travel, ex- 
^^^*" perience, experiment, as well as the ordinary 
source of coursc of natural phenomena, furnish abundant 
^''^teSa opportunity for the formation of correct habits 
of observation. The observations thus made 
should be recorded in the memory, if not on manuscript 
From the storehouse of the memory, thus filled with ma- 
terials for thought, the mind derives many of the best 
data for reaching conclusions. Observation, exx)erience, 
and reading, as sources of thought-material, presuppose 



OBSERVATION AND THINKING. 166 

an accurate and retentive memory in those who think 
well and act well. The relation of memory to thinking 
deserves treatment in a separate chapter. 

There is a limit to the number of observations which 
the mind can carry and use. Nature-study may be 
overdone. Mere seeing is not thinking. What Nature- 
the eye beholds must be sorted and assigned to study, 
its appropriate class; otherwise the treasure-house of 
memory will soon resemble a wilderness of meaningless 
fects. Than this only one thing can be worse, — namely, 
a wilderness of meaningless words. 

Reading is a si)ecies of observation. An exercise in 
oral reading, during which each pupil is called down 
as soon as he miscalls a word, is often an Readimr 
astonishing revelation, showing how few of andob- 
the advanced pupils can accurately see and s®^***^^- 
correctly name every word in a stanza or paragraph. 
Methods of teaching a beginner to read are correct 
in seeking to develop the ability to pronounce rp^^^^j^ ^ 
words without help from others. Faulty ap- cwidto 
plication of a method that is right in this ^®*^- 
respect may seriously retard, and even destroy, the 
power of thinking what is on the printed page. What 
on earth is a first- year pupil to do with the many hun- 
dred words which he is sometimes taught to pronounce ! 
Often words are arranged in sentences which come dan- 
gerously near the slang of the slums, and which no child 
ever hears in a cultured home. Furthermore, some sen- 
tences in primers and first readers are well-nigh void" 
of meaning, the aim being to teach the words for the 
sake of the combinations of letters which they ^ ^ , 

*' First test. 

contain. The first test to apply to a method of 
teaching a beginner to read is the question. How quickly 
does it teach that which must be known as a condition 
of pronouncing new words, — namely, the shape and the 



166 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

sound or sonnds of each of the letters of the alphabet t 
As compared with the sound and the shai)e, the name of 
the letter is of relatively little importance. Students of 
Hebrew may read that language fluently without being 
able to repeat the Hebrew sJphabet, the names of the let- 
ters being a mere matter of convenience in talking about 
them. The second great test to be applied to the method 
of te^M^hing a beginner to read is the question, Does it 
Second form the habit of getting thought from the 

test, printed page ? Grown men have admitted that 
they passed through several readers before they discovered 
that there was a meaning or connected story in the words 
which they were pronouncing. They saw and gave names 
to words very much as people see and give names to objects 
round about them without recognizing the significance of 
what is seen, or thinking the thoughts which the Author 
of the Universe has spread out before them in the great 
book of nature. 

The third test to be applied to the method of teaching 

reading is the question, Does it save the pupil from the 

unnatural tones of the school-room by training 

him to use his voice in the right way ? To this 

test reference will be made later. 

If observation is to have abiding value, it must lead 
to thinking. This is as true of the observation of words 
observa- ^^^ scnteuces on the printed or written page as 
tion should it is of the Observation of earth and sky and 
^j^^*^ sea, of the starry heavens above and the moral 
law within (which filled the soul of the philoso- 
pher Kant with never-ceasing awe). How the things 
obtained from books and from the world outside are 
appropriated in thought and made our own will appear 
more fully when we discuss the relation of memory to 
thinking. 



XI 
THE MEMORY AND THINKING 



167 



Overburden not thy memory to make bo faithful a servant a 
slave. Remember Atlas was weary. Have as much reason as a 
camel, to rise when thou hast thy full load. Memory, like a 
purse, if it be overfull that it cannot shut, all will drop out of it : 
take heed of a gluttonous curiosity to feed on many things, lest the 
greediness of the appetite of thy memory spoil the digestion thereof. 

Thomas Fuller. 

To impose on a child to get by heart a long scroll of phrases 
without any ideas is a practice fitter for a jackdaw than for any- 
thing that wears the shape of man. 

Dr. I. Watts. 

The habit of laying up in the memory what has not been digested 
by the understanding is at once the cause and the effect of mental 
weakness. 

Sir W. Hamilton. 

There is no one department of educational work in which the 
difference between skilled and unskilled teaching is so manifest as 
in the view which is taken of the faculty of memory, the mode of 
training it, and the uses to which different teachers seek to put it. 

FrrcH. 



168 



XI 
THE MEMORY AND THINKING 

Many i)eople freely admit that they have a poor 
memory. Their misstatements, breaches of etiquette, 
and failure to keep engagements they excuse by claim- 
ing a poor memory for dates, names, faces, facts, and 
the like. Accuse them of possessing poor judgment, 
and they are very much offended. They fail 
to see the close relation between a good mem- andjudg- 
ory and good judgment, between an accurate ™®^'- 
memory and sound common sense, which is but another 
name for good judgment in matters that all men have in 
common. Judgment af&rms the agreement or disagree- 
ment between two objects of thought. It involves com- 
parison. How can the comparison be accurate if the 
memory is not accurate in the ideas it recalls of the 
things to be compared ? 

At one time it was a mooted question whether the 
mind can think of more than one thing at a time. As a 
matter of doubt this question is no longer discussed. 
For, since all thinking involves comparison, if oompan- 
two objects are to be compared, they must be son. 
held before the mind at one and the same time. A good 
memory is, therefore, a very important aid to reflection. 

And yet Thucydides and Lord Bolingbroke are said to 
have complained of a memory so retentive of details that 
it seriously interfered with their processes of thought. It 

169 



170 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

is commonly believed that much memory work interferes 
with the growth and development of a pupiFs ability 
Memo- ^ think. *^Much memorizing deadens the 
rizing. power of thought, '^ says W. T. Harris, who is 
recognized at home and abroad as one of the profoundest 
thinkers that America has produced. Innumerable anec- 
dotes are told of great thinkers to show their forgetful- 
ness in the commonest details of every-day life. These 
anecdotes are handed down from one generation of 
students to the next ; their mirth-provoking character 
gives , them vitality ; they grow more ludicrous the 
offcener they are told ; they do harm because they lead 
pupils to undervalue the importance of a good memory 
to those who are ambitious to shine as thinkers. Often, 
after it is too late, the student finds how he has crippled 
his whole intellectual life by neglect and abuse of the 
memory. A correct conception of the nature of memory 
and its function in every department of thought and 
research is of immense importance to those who teach, 
as well as to those who have gone fax enough in their 
studies to give conscious direction to their own intel- 
lectual life. Most writers on education have treated, 
directly or indirectly, of the use and abuse of the mem- 
ory ; every examiner appeals to it more or less in the 
questions he puts ; and every teacher shows the nature 
and extent of his skill in the kind of demands he makes 
upon the retentive power of his pupils. Take, for in- 
stance, the lesson in geometry. There are two ways 
of learning and giving the proof of a theorem: the 
Two forms language of the text-book may be committed 
of memory-, to memory, and accepted in the class-room; 
or the pupil may fix in his mind the line of argument 
and give in his own language the successive steps of 
the demonstration. The former method is a sure sign 
of bad teaching and of defective habits of study. When- 



THE MEMORY AND THINKING. 171 

ever a skilfal teacher finds his pupils giving the exact 
words of the text-book on geometry, he changes the 
lettering of the figure, and sometimes even the figure 
itself. He is not satisfied until he feels sure that the 
pupil is thinking the thoughts of the geometry and re- 
calling the ideas by the inner nexus which binds them 
into a line of argument. He insists on it that the learner 
shall cultivate a memory for ideas rather than words. 

Does it follow that the verbal memory is to be neglected 
and despised ? This is the feeling of the learner who has 
tasted the joys of thinking ; he hates the verbal 
drudgery of learning by heart, because he has memory. 
reached the age when logical memory begins to assert 
itself at the expense of the verbal memory, ^o less 
a psychologist than Professor James of Harvard has 
recently put in a plea for the verbal memory which, by 
reason of the abuses to which it was formerly subjected, 
has fallen into such disuse that pupils on reaching the 
high school are often unable to quote a single stanza 
of poetry. In his ** Talks on Psychology to Teachers'' 
he says, — 

^'The older pedagogic method of learning things by 
rote, and recitii^g them parrot-like in the school-room, 
rested on the truth that a thing merely read or heard, 
and never verbally reproduced, contracts the weakest 
possible adhesion to the mind. Verbal recitation or re- 
production is thus a highly important kind of reactive 
behavior on our impressions ; and it is to be feared, in the 
reaction against the old parrot recitations as the begin 
ning and end of instruction, the extreme value of verbal 
recitation as an element of complete training may nowa- 
days be too much forgotten.''* 

Psychologists have shown that, in remembering and 

* ** Talks on Psychology,'* page 34. 



172 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

recollecting, the mind works according to certain laws of 
association. Of two words or ideas which have been be- 

j^ggoeia- ^o^ ^^^ mind at the same time, or in immediate 
t*on. sequence, the one naturally tends to suggest 
the other. If the attention is directed to the words as 
they follow each other in a line of poetry, the memory 
will recall these in the order in which they occur. If the 
mind's eye is fixed on the ideas which the words express, 
the memory may carry these by reason of the logical 
connection which exists between them. Often the con- 
nection between the two things which are to be remem- 
bered is purely arbitrary. Then the link which binds 
them together must be forged by some mechanical process 
like frequent oral repetition, or by constant gazing at 
them upon the printed page, or by wfiting them out so 
that the impression made upon the mind through the eye 
and the ear is further strengthened through the muscular 
sense. The latter species of memory is usually called the 
mechanical memory, in distinction from the iSemory for 
ideas, which has been aptly styled the logical Memory. ^ 
The verbal memory is but one form of the mechanical 
memory. There is no necessary connection between per- 
Mechanicai SOUS and their names, between events and dates, 

memory, between things and their symbols ; these mus( 
be learned by bringing them together before the mind 
until by the law of association, called contiguity in time 
and place, the link that binds them is forged; or, to 
change the figure, until they occupy places side by side 
on the tablets of the mechanical memory. It is some- 
times supposed that there is a necessary connection be-** 
tween the two factors and their result in the multiplica- 
tion table. But the moment we construct an arithmetical 
scale based on the dozen instead of ten, 7 x 8 =*48 in- • 
stead of 56 (the former combination of figures signifying 
four twelves and eight ones), and the arbitrary character 



THE MEMORY AND THINKING, 173 

of the combinations in the Arabic notation becomes ap- 
parent at a glance. Sometimes a peculiarity in a rule 
like that for the middle and the opposite parts in the 
right-angled spherical triangle may assist the memory ; 
bnt in most cases the formulas which are in constant use 
in the higher mathematics must be fixed by the methods 
of drill appropriate for the mechanical memory. 

It is a mistake in teaching as well as in practical life to 
neglect the mechanical memory. In many directions it 
takes care of itself through the conditions and require- 
ments of a x>erson's daily occupation. The salesman in a 
large store, the conductor on a railway, the politician on 
the hustings remembers many things in this way, and not 
because they are bound together by a logical nexus like 
that which binds together the thoughts of a geometrical 
proof. Many things which the pupil must carry from 
the school into practical life must be retained through 
drill and repetition. Pestalozzi imagined that if he 
taught pupils how to construct the multiplica- pestaiozzi's 
tion table it would not be necessary for them to ™iBtake. 
commit it to memory. The Swiss teachers long ago found 
out the insufficiency of his method ; found out that, whilst 
it pays to let a pupil construct the table for himself, 
because it increases his interest in the combinations, and 
thus lightens the burden of the mechanical memory, the 
drill must be kept up until the sight of two factors sug- 
gests their product with infallible accuracy. Valuable 
time can be saved if the teacher will make a list of things 
that must be fixed in the mechanical memory for the 
purpose of facilitating the thought-processes in more 
advanced stages of instruction and in the discharge of the 
duties of practical life. The following are typical exam- 
ples of what should be lodged in the mechanical memory : 

1. A reasonable vocabulary of words in the mother 
tongue. 



174 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

2. A working vocabulary of words in the foreign lan- 
guages which the circumstances or occupation of a stu- 
dent will compel him to use. 

3. The combinations of addition up to one hundred, 
the multiplication table, and the tables of weights and 
measures. 

4. Algebraic and other formulas which constantly 
recur in the higher mathematics. 

5. The fundamental formulas in chemistry, physics, and 
other sciences. 

6. Declensions, conjugations, comparison, and genders 
of words in such foreign languaiges as the pupil expects 
to read, write, and speak. 

7. The most necessary fact-lore of history and geography. 

8. Choice selections from the best literature and such 
definitions as mark a triumph of intellect in the history 
of human thought. 

This enumeration may indicate the range and kind of 
knowledge which should be fixed in the mechanical 
memory so that the mind may be in possession of the 
best instruments of thought evolved by ages of civiliza- 
tion. Maily of the things above named must be learned 
by an effort of retention, pure and simple, like that of 
the boy who is sent to a store to buy half a dozen sheets 
of paper, two yards of ribbon, five dozen eggs, and speci- 
fied quantities of salt, fiour, and other provisions. He 
may write these on paper and thus ease the memory 
burden, but in solving mathematical problems and in 
reading, writing, or speaking a foreign language it is im- 
possible always to carry for use writtiCn or printed tables, 
vocabularies, and lexicons. To use these in thinking, 
one must have them on his tongue and at his finger's 
end. Of course it makes a difference whether one wishes 
simply to read a language, like Latin or Greek, or to use 
it, like French and German, in conversation and corre- 



THE MEMORY AND THINKING, 176 

spondence. In the former instance it is sufficient to learn 
the language symbols through the eye ; in the latter they 
must be acquired through the ear, the tongue, and the pen. 
It is a wise provision of nature that the perceptive 
powers and the mechanical memory are most active in 
childhood and youth. The normal child is Time for 
hungry for words and facts, and gathers infor- learning 
mation from every conceivable quarter. The ^*'^«^^^*^®^- 
judgment and the reason develop after the mind has been 
stored with the materials upon which these may act. 
Parents and teachers who are ignorant of this order of 
development often force the reasons for arithmetical pro- 
cesses upon the pupil when these are difficult and when 
he could learn the eleven hundred variations of the 
Greek verb without difficulty, whilst the study of the 
classical and foreign languages is postponed to an age 
when the acquisition of a new language becomes a diffi- 
cult task because the logical memory has driven the 
mechanical into the background, and the growth of judg- 
ment and reason makes the pupil crave the intellectual 
food famished by the thought-studies. It is a species of 
cruelty to force upon children the consideration of the 
why's and the wherefore's of mathematical operations, 
when learning how to go through the motions would be 
quite enough of a tax upon their mental strength. Some 
of the demonstrations in arithmetic are logically more 
difficult than many of the proofs in geometry ; hence no 
pupil should be asked to pass his final examination in 
arithmetic before he has mastered the elements of geome- 
try. The proper sequence of subjects is of immense im- 
portance in leading the child from the lower to the 
higher forms of intellectual activity. With the proper 
study of geometry the logical memory steps to the front, 
aud the thought-studies should then supplant those which 
largely appeal to the mechanical memory. 



176 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

Nevertheless, it is a distinct loss if the verbal or me- 
chanical memory is ever allowed to drop into desuetude. 
On this point the practice, as well as the testimony, of 
Dr. W. T. Harris is worthy of the attention of every 
X>erson charged with the training of himself or others. 

^^If a person finds himself forgetful of names, it is a 
health-giving process to take a certain portion of time in 

Harris committing to memory words. If this is done 

on the by committing new masterpieces of poetry and 
memory, pp^g^^ ^j, jj^ Committing to memory the words 
of a new language, there is profit or gain to the thinking 
powers, as well as to the memory. Doubtless the cul- 
tivation of verbal memory, building up, as it does, a 
certain convolution in the brain, has a tendency to 
prevent atrophy in that organ. This contains a hint 
in the direction of keeping up in the later part of life 
the faculties which are usually so active in youth. The 
tendency is to neglect childish faculties and allow them 
to become torpid. But if this is liable to weaken cer- 
tain portions of the brain in such a way as to induce 
hemorrhage, ending in softening of the brain, certainly 
the memory should be cultivated, if only for the health 
of the brain, and the memory for mechanical items 
of detail should be cultivated on grounds of health as 
well as on grounds of culture. The extreme advocates 
of the rational method of teaching are perhaps wrong in 
repudiating entirely all mechanical memory of dates and 
names or items. Certainly they are right in opposing the 
extremes of the old pedagogy, which obliged the pupils 
to memorize, page after page, the contents of a grammar 
verbatim et literatim et punctvMim (as, for instance, the 
graduates of the Boston Latin School tell us was the cus- 
tom early in this century). But is there not a middle 
ground! Is there not a minimum list of details, of 
dates and names which must and should be memorized, 



THE MEMORY AND THINKING 177 

both on account of the health of the nervous system and 
on account of the intrinsic usefulness of the data them- 
selves f And must not the x>erson in later life continue 
to exercise these classes of memory which deal with de- 
tails for the sake of physical health f This is a question 
for the educational pathologist." ^ 

A teacher of Hebrew spent one-fourth of his time in 
drill on Hebrew roots and their meaning. His students 
groaned under the drudgery imposed. At the vocabu- 
end of the first six chapters of Oenesis, he ^a^es. 
surprised his class by the announcement, ^*Now you 
know half the words in the Hebrew Bible." He had 
selected words used five hundred times, then words used 
three hundred times, and drilled on these in various ways 
nntil he had fixed all the words in most frequent use in 
the Hebrew text. It was a great saving of time in the 
end, and a great step towards reading at sight the Old 
Testament in the original. By the modem short-cuts to 
knowledge the pupils are hurried from one classic author 
to another, and hence they never master the vocabulary 
to the extent of reading Latin or Oreek at sight A 
little less haste at the start, and a little more drill for the 
purpose of fixing new words as they come up, thus avoid- 
ing the everlasting turning to the lexicon for more than 
half the words in a lesson, would facilitate progress and 
enable the student to find some pleasure in the study of 
foreign languages. 

An old teacher of Latin, who had discovered this 
secret in the acquisition of a foreign tongue, agreed 
to take a small class in Livy on condition Teaching 
that the students write in a special blank-book languages. 
and review every day all the words whose meaning 
they were required to hunt in the lexicon. At the end 

* " Psychologic Foundations of Education," pages 177, 178. 
12 



178 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

of ten weeks half the class read two pages without look- 
ing up more than two words. Their study of Latin not 
only gave them a sense of pleasure, but, in thinking the 
thoughts of the author through the medium of the eye- 
symbols and then putting them into good English, they 
acquired excellent thought-material, an extensive vo- 
cabulary, and superior skUl in syntactical constructioiL 
It proved a most valuable exercise in thinking and in the 
expression of thought 

Valuable as the mechanical memory is for the purpose 
of furnishing the thought-instruments, it sinks into com- 
Logicai parative insignificance alongside of the logical 
memory, memory. The latter is the memory for ideas, 
binding them by associations based on cause and effect, 
reason and consequence, similarity and contrast, the 
general and the particular. It is the kind of memory 
by which the mind carries a knowledge of the laws 
of science, the principles of art, the salient points of 
a discourse, the train of ideas in a book, the leadiiig 
thoughts in a system of philosophy. It converts history 
and geography from a dry collection of facts, dates, and 
names into a living organism whose parts are internally 
related by a plastic principle, and combined into a whole 
that has order and system in every detail. How much 
better that a pupiPs knowledge of history and geography 
should be thus systematized than that it should resemble 
a wilderness of facts ! As a means for furnishing thought- 
material, the logical memory is far more valuable than 
the memory which holds words and things by the acci- 
dental ties of sound, sight, and fanciftil relations. 

A classification of the forms of memory into portative, 

Latham's ^ti^^Iytical, and assimilative, given in Latham's 

ciassiflcBr book on the "Action of Examinations,'' is 

^^^' helpful in determining the relation of memory 

to thinking. 



THE MEMORY AND THINKING. 179 

The portative memory simply conveys matter. '^ Its 
only aim, like that of a carrier, is to deliver the parcel 
as it was received." It is the form of memory Portative 
that enables some people to carry the contents memory. 
of entire volumes in their minds, sometimes in the 
very words, offcener in ideas only. The rhapsodists 
in ancient Greece who could repeat entire books of 
Homer are examples in point. Some men of sux>erior 
talent have possessed this power in an eminent degree. 
Macaulay, on a voyage across the Irish Channel, rehearsed 
from memory an entire book of Virgil's ^^^Eneid." It 
is the kind of memory that shines at examinations and 
excites the envy of persons less gifted with powers of 
retention. It may easily be degraded into a slave, doing 
work which should be performed by higher mental 
I)Owers. Hence it has been appropriately styled \h!Q 
Cinderella faculty of the mind. Like the girl in the 
story, it may be abused dreadfully by having all sorts of 
useless drudgery heax>ed upon it. To require a child to 
learn the five thousand isolated facts formerly scattered 
through treatises on geography was an exercise as useless 
as the picking of the lentils which were poured into the 
ashes to give Cinderella something to do, and, unfortu- 
nately, there is no bird from fairy-land to assist in the 
accomplishment of the task. 

Much as we may admire the power of Thomas Puller, 
who could repeat five hundred unrelated words in foreign 
languages after hearing them twice, it is an accomplish- 
ment not worth acquiring. As an accomplishment it 
recalls the king to whom a man exhibited his skill in 
throwing a pea so that it would stick on the end of a 
pin, — a feat acquired after years of patient practice. The 
man hoped to get a valuable present for his exhibition 
of skill. The king ordered a bag of pease to be given 
him, saying that it was all his accomplishment was worth. 



180 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

There is no end of warnings as to the possible evil 
effects of a good memory upon the power to think, — 
warnings that a teacher may take to heart with advan- 
tage to himself and others. 

Dr. Carpenter asserts that when the form of memory 

by which children learn a piece of poetry whose meaning 

they do not comprehend exists in unusual 

and the Strength, it seems to impede rather than aid 

'^^^^- the formation of the nexus of associations 
which makes acquired knowledge a part of the 
mind itself. In illustration, he cites the suggestive case 
of Dr. Ley den, '^who was distinguished for his extraor- 
dinary gift of learning languages, and who could repeat 
long acts of Parliament, or any similar document, after 
having once read it. Being congratulated by a friend 
on his remarkable gift, he replied that, instead of being 
an advantage to him, it was often a source of great in- 
convenience, because, when he wished to recollect any- 
thing in a document he had read, he could only do it by 
repeating the whole from the commencement till he 
reached the point he wished to recall.'' 

Latham has well said, ^' The ready mechanical memory 
of a youth, besides enabling him to mislead unpractised 
examiners, makes him deceive himself. Teachers find 
that a very ready memory is a bad educator ; it stunts 
the growth of other mental powers by doing their work 
for them. A youth who can recollect without trouble 
will, as it were, mask the difl&culty in his classical author 
or his mathematics by learning by rote what stands in 
his translation or text-book, and march forward without 
more ado. Thus a quick memory involves a temptation 
which may enervate its possessor by suffering him to 
evade a difficulty instead of bracing himself to encounter 
it in front'' * 

* Latham, " Action of Examinations/' pages 229, 230. 



THE MEMORY AND THINKING. 181 

Maudsley writes in the same strain : *^This kind of 
memory, in whicli the person seems to read a photo- 
graphic copy of former impressions with his mind's eye, 
is not, indeed, commonly associated with high intel- 
lectual power ; for what reason I know not, unless it be 
that the mind, to which it belongs, is prevented, by the 
very excellence of its power of apprehending and recall- 
ing separate facts, from rising to that discernment of their 
relations which is involved in reasoning and judgment, 
and so stays in a fanction which should be the founda- 
tion of further development, or that, being by some 
natural defect prevented from rising to the higher sphere 
of a comprehension of relations, it applies all its energies 
to a comprehension of details. Certainly one runs the 
risk, by overloading the memory of a child with details, 
of arresting the development of the mental powers of 
the child ; stereotyping details on the brain, we prevent 
that further development of it which consists in rising 
from concrete conceptions to the conception of rela- 
tions." * 

Here is another warning from the pen of Archbishop 
Whately : 

^^Some people have been intellectually damaged by 
having what is called a good memory. An unskilftd 
teacher is content to put before children all they ought 
to learn, and to take care that they remember it ; and so, 
though the memory is retentive, the mind is left in a 
passive state, and men wonder that he who was so quick 
at learning and remembering should not be an able man, 
which is as reasonable as to wonder that a cistern if 
filled should not be a perpetual fountain. Many men 
are saved by their deficiency of memory from being 
spoiled by an education ; for those who have no extraor- 

* Maudsley' s " Physiology of the Mind," page 518. 



182 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

dinary memory are driven to supply its place by think- 
ing. If they do not remember a mathematical demon- 
stration, they are driven to devise one. If they do not 
remember what Aristotle or Bacon said, they are driven 
to consider what they are likely to have said or ought 
to have said." * 

In his letter to a student who lamented his defective 
memory, P. C. Hamerton says that, so far from writing, as 
might be expected, a letter of condolence on a miserable 
memory, he felt disposed to write a letter of congratula- 
tion. "It is possible that you may be blessed with a 
selecting memory which is not only useful for what it 
retains, but also for what it rejects. In the immense 
mass of facts which come before you in literature and in 
life it is well that you should suffer as little bewilderment 
as possible. The nature of your memory saves you from 
this by unconsciously selecting what has interested you 
and letting the rest go by." f 

In the last quotation we get a hint of the form of mem- 
ory which Latham styles the analytical. "The analyti- 
Anaiyticai cal memory is exercised when the mind furnishes 
memory. ^ yj^^ of its owu and thereby holds together a 
set of impressions selected out of a mass. Thus a barris- 
ter strings together the material facts of his case, and a 
lecturer those of his science by their bearing on what he 
wants to establish." 

Many thinkers sift everything they read, hear, and see. 
That which they do not need is rejected and forgotten. 
That which has a bearing upon their investigations is 
selected, retained, and utilized. As an aid in thinking a 
form of retention called the index memory is very help- 
ful. The lawyer should know where to find such law as 

* Annotations on Bacon* s Essay " Of Studies." 
t Hamerton's "Intellectual Life," page 125. 



THE MEMORY AND THINKING. IgJ 

he does not carry in his head. Having found the re- 
quired statute or judicial interpretation, he applies it to 
the case in hand. iNo sooner is a case finally decided or 
settled than he drops its details from his mind and directs 
his intellectual strength to the interests of the next client. 

In this ability to sift, select, and reject, as the occasion 
demands, lies the secret of the success of many a public 
lecturer, of many a magazine writer. The men in the 
pulpit or upon the platform who lack this gift soon wear 
out ; the public speedily detects when they have nothing 
more to give. The preparation of debates, speeches, 
essays, and theses trains these forms of memory. After 
the analytical habit has been formed, the student un- 
consciously, yet constantly, gathers, classifies, and stores 
materials for thought The public are frequently sur- 
prised by the array of striking facts, interesting data, 
apt illustrations, and pleasing anecdotes with which he 
enlivens every topic of discussion and elucidates every 
subject of investigation. 

Higher than the analytical is the assimilative form of 
memory which "absorbs matter into the system so that 
the knowledge assimilated becomes a part of Assimiia- 
the person's own self, like that of his name or tivemem- 
of a familiar language." The assimilation of ^^' 
biowledge has a parallel in the assimilation of food. 
The phrase that knowledge is the food of the mind has 
almost become classical in treatises on education. The 
figure of speech throws light upon the relative functions 
of memory and thinking in the acquisition and elabora- 
tion of knowledge. Before the food is set before the 
child it should be cooked and put into the most palatable 
form, — a parallel to the preparation of the lesson by the 
teacher so that he may put it before the learner in its 
Diost attractive form. 

Before the food is swallowed it should be masticated, 



184 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

broken into parts, — ^a parallel to the act of analysis by 
which the chunks of knowledge are resolved into their 
elements and each set before the mind in the simplest 
form, in the form in which it can be grasped most easily. 
If the food remains in the stomach unchanged, it pro- 
duces dyspepsia and a long train of bodily ills. If the 
knowledge which the mind appropriates is retained un- 
changed, it produces mental dyspepsia, and there is no 
real assimilation. From this point of view we can easily 
see why Montaigne said that to know by heart is not to 
know at all. Just as the food which is taken into the 
body must be transformed into chyme and chyle and 
blood before it can be assimilated, so the knowledge 
which is taken up by the mind must be transformed if it 
is to be assimilated. The best illustration of the trans- 
Transfor- formation of knowledge is that given by an 
mation of anccdotc -of €k)ugh, which has now become 
knowledge. ^|gggj^^ j^ ^ Pullman car a crying child was 
disturbing the slumbers of every passenger. At last a 
gruff miner, whose patience was exhausted, stuck his 
head out of his berth and exclaimed, ^' I should like to 
know where that child's mother isf *' In the baggage 
car in a cof&n,'' was the reply of the i)erson in charge of 
the child. The knowledge imparted by that phrase was 
immediately transformed into new thought and sentiment 
and purpose. There was not another word of complaint 
throughout the entire journey j every passenger was 
thinking of the unfortunate child in the light of an 
orphan. Their hearts were stirred with feelings of sym- 
pathy, which, in the case of the old miner, issued into 
will and purpose, for he got up, began to carry the little 
one, and did his best to make it feel contented in the new 
surroundings. If the lessons in civil government and 
history of the United States remain in the memory a 
mere tissue of dates, names, and events, the teacher has 



THE MEMORY AND THINKING. 185 

fidled, no matter how brilliant the answers in class or at 
the examination. If these lessons do not issue in new 
thoughts, sentiments, and purposes, if they do not enlarge 
the mental vision of the pupils, beget in them the senti- 
ment of patriotism and cause them to resolve that they 
will support the government by paying a just share of 
its taxes and by insisting on a pure baUot, — in a word, if 
these lessons do not make the pupil say that he will live 
for his country and even die in its defence,— then the 
teacher has failed because there has been no adequate 
assimilation of knowledge. 

Another figure of speech is sometimes used to describe 
the transformation of knowledge. ^^ Except a grain of 
wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself 
alone ; but if it die, it beareth much fruit." * If the 
knowledge which enters the mind remains unchanged, it 
abideth by itself alone. But if it perish in its original 
form, if it is changed through the process of growth so 
as to enter into new relations, it brings forth a harvest 
of thought and sentiment and purpose. The last two 
should be the concomitants of the crop of new thoughts 
which spring from seed-thoughts implanted in the soul. 

That the ancients understood the use and abuse of the 
memory is evident from their method of teaching law. 

The Eoman school-boy learned by heart the Twelve 
Tables of the Law. His teachers were not satisfied with 
a mere knowledge of the words ; they insisted Teaching 
that he ihould understand the meaning of the the law. 
law, and apply it in regulating his own conduct and 
in passiig judgment upon the conduct of others. Is 
it any Tonder that the Eoman people became the ex- 
ponentsof law and order throughout the civilized world, 
and thlt Boman jurisprudence still exerts a moulding 

* John xii. 24, Revised Version. 



186 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

influence upon the legislation of the Latin races, if not 
of the entire civilized world t 

There is still another nation of antiquity whose youth 
were instructed in the law with the most scrupulous care. 
The Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Law were com- 
mitted to memory. In Chapter VI., 6-9, of Deuteron- 
omy, we read: *^And these words, which I command 
thee this day, shall be in thine heart : and thou shalt 
teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk 
of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou 
walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when 
thou risest up. Ajid thou shalt bind them for a sign upon 
thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine 
eyes." Verse 18 of Chapter XI. is still more explicit : 
^' Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart 
and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your 
hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.'' 

The exact words of the law were to be fixed in the 
memory, and kept both before the bodily and mental eye 
until they passed into the deeds and conduct of every-day 
life. In John viL 49 we find the same thought : "This 
people who knoweth not the law are cursed.'' This 
was the universal conviction of the Jewish people after 
the Babylonian exile, if not before. The reading of the 
Talmud has been likened unto travelling through endless 
galleries of lumber, where the air is darkened and the 
lungs are weU-nigh asphyxiated with the rising dust 
On one point, however, the Jewish Eabbis speak with 
the authority and earnestness of those who know whereof 
they affirm. " To the Law !" is the exhortation sounded 
abroad in every key. "Let your house," says one, " be 
a house of assembly for those wise in the law ; let your- 
self be dusted by the dust of their feet, and dririt eagerly 
their teaching. " " Make the study of the law tly special 
business," says another. "The more teaching of the 



THE MEMORY AND THINJ^INQ. 187 

law," says a third, " the more life ; the more school, the 
more wisdom ; the more counsel, the more reasonable 
action. He who gains a knowledge of the law gains life 
in the world to come." 

Maxims like the following show the stress that was 
laid upon exercises designed to bring out the full force 
and import of the law : ^^ When two sit together and do 
not converse about the law, they are an assembly of 
scorners, of which it is said, ^ Sit not in the seat of the 
scomers.' When, however, two sit together and con- 
verse about the law, the Shechinah (the Divine Presence) 
is present among them." *^ When three eat together at 
one table, and do not converse about the law, it is as 
though they ate of the offerings of the dead. But when 
three eat together at one table and converse about the 
law, it is as though they ate at the table of God." ^* The 
following are things whose interest is enjoyed in this 
world, while the capital remains for the world to come ; 
Reverence for fathers and mothers, benevolence, peace- 
making among neighbors, and the study of the law above 
themalL" 

It is very apparent that the chosen people were not 
satisfied with mere memorizing of the law. Their tea^^hers 
sought to make it a living, regulative force in all the 
relations of man. Their practice emphasized a phase of 
memory work which should be borne in mind whenever 
pupils are requested to learn by heart any form of words 
or selection of literature. Words have no value so long 
as they remain mere words. When words convey the 
intended meaning, the more perfect the form in which 
they are joined together the deeper and more lasting is 
the impression made upon the mind of the learner. The 
thoughts which have been transmitted in forms fixed for 
ages may not produce a harvest of new thought and 
linguistic expression, but may issue in feeling and will, 



188 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

in lofty emotions and noble purposes, in heroic deeds 
and unselfish devotion, in righteousness and right con- 
duct far more valuable than mediocre effusions of prose 
and poetry, or many of the speculations of scientists and 
philosophers. 

Thoughts that are to regulate conduct and life may be 
remembered in the form in which a nation has treasured 

Seed- them for ages. If thoughts are to become seed- 
thoughts. thoughts, their form must be changed through 
the process of growth; otherwise no crop of new 
thoughts can mature. The expression, seed-thoughts, is 
a figure of speech based upon v^etable life. The mind 
may be likened unto soil that has become fertile through 
the labor and skill of the husbandman. The mind grows 
fertile and productive by cultivation. Like the sower 
going forth to sow, the good teacher deposits in the 
youthful mind ideas which germinate and bring forth a 
harvest of thought, sentiment, and purpose. If the grain 
of wheat be cut in pieces, and then put into the soil, 
there can be no growth, because the life has been de- 
stroyed. The ideas which the teacher instils into the 
minds of the pupils should be living ideas. Their vital- 
ity should not be destroyed by dissection into fragments 
from which all life has departed. Sunshine and moisture 
are conditions of growth. Lack of sympathy is lack of 
sunshine. Cold natures have an Arctic effect in stunting 
and preventing growth. Again, instruction may be so 
dry that nothing can thrive under its infiuence. Like a 
drought, it may speedily evaporate the child's love of 
school and interest in study. Weeds may choke the 
growing crop. These the husbandman removes and de- 
stroys, so that the good seed may have a chance to ripen. 
With equal solicitude the faithful teacher watches the 
development of the seed-thoughts which are sprouting in 
the mind. For a time the seed is hid in the earth. Seed- 



THE MEMORY AND THINKING. 189 

thooghts disappear in the unconscious depths of the soul. 
They are not lost. By processes which we cannot ex- 
plain, they sprout and grow and ripen. That such mys- 
terious processes are going forward in the hidden depths 
of the soul cannot be doubted. A process of growth may 
be unseen ; its visible results are evidence that it exists 
and is going forward. If tiie soil be barren or the con- 
ditions of growth be wanting, no harvest is possible. 
Unfortunately, the unskilful husbandman always blames 
the soil and the weather when he himself is at fault. 
Unfortunate is the pupil whose teacher is a fossil, devoid 
of life and the power to infuse life. Under such a 
teacher the pupil always gets the blame. 



XII 

IMAGING AND THINKING 



IBl 



Things more excellent than any image are expreesed through 
images. 

Jamblichdb. 

An nnimaginative person can neither be reverent nor kind. 

Buskin. 

Few men have imagination enough for the truth of reality. 

Goethe. 

Science does not know its debt to the imagination. 

Emebson. 

The human race is governed by its imagination. 

Napoleon. 



192 



XII 
IMAGING AND THINKING 

BvEBY homan being divides the world into two parts, 
the self and the not-self. It wonld not be right to say 
that he divides the world into two hemispheres, because 
self may occupy more space and engross more thought 
than all else in the universe. 

The idea of self is complex. It includes our thoughts, 
emotions, and purposes. Kindred and friends, home and 
country, creed and occupation, dress and per- 
sonal apx>earance, possessions and the work one 
has done, — in fact, all one has and is and does enters into 
the idea of sel£ When we lose a child, a manuscript, an 
investment, a position, we are apt to feel as if a part of 
ourselves had been lost. So closely are the things of self 
identified with the inner self, the self in the narrowest 
signification of the term, that the latter is oftentimes lost 
in the former; and the end of existence is sought in 
wealth, fame, honor, social position, erudition, and the 
thousand other things which intensify the feeling of self 
by giving it form and content 

An im portant element in the though^ of Relf is the 
JB^^ ^f self that ev ery man carries in_his owdl mind 
This image of self is derived from looking- image of 
glasses and photographs, from the sight of ^^' 
hands and feet and the other impressions of the physical 
organism which reach the mind through the senses. In 
the minds of many persons the image of self is ever pres- 
ent, it matters not whether they are eating or drinking, 
walking or talking, singing or thinking, posing or work' 

13 198 



194 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

ing. The perpetual presence of the image of self gives 
rise to vanity and pride, to avarice, ambition, and other 
detestable forms of selfishness. 

It is the province of education to bring self and the 
things of self into proper relation with the not-self^ with 
God and the universe. That this may be accomplished 
the images of sense and the idea of self must be made to 
take their proper place in the domain of thought and 
volition. 

Not many years ago it was customary in certain quar- 
ters to define education as the process of unsensing the 
Education mind and xmselfing the will. The definition 

defined, never became popular. It contains a truth and 
an error, both deserving of careful consideration. The 
maxim may signify that by the process of education the 
soul is to be emancipated from the tyranny of the senses 
and from the domination of selfish desires. The mind 
may be hindered in its growth because it is under the 
thraldom of desire and appetite. Excess in eating and 
drinking, in sight-seeing, and in other pleasures which 
so easily ripen into dissipation may check the normal 
development of the higher faculties. The delight which 
some gifted natures find in beautiful colors and good 
music may prevent them from acquiring the power of 
abstract and abstruse thinking. The things of the mind 
may be sacrificed to the things of sense, the higher life 
of the soul may be stifled through the exaltation of self 
and the domination of selfish desires. 

What is meant by unsensing the mind! It may mean, 
for instance, that the student of arithmetic is to be freed 
Unsensing from the necessity of counting strokes or fingers 
the mind. |u finding the sum or the product of two num- 
bers ; that the learner is to get away from the cats and 
dogs of the First Eeader as soon as possible ; that he is to 
be lifted by education to the plane on which he can think 



IMAGING AND THINKING. 195 

in abstract and general terms. In this sense it is correct 
to say that it is the purpose of education to unsense the 
mind. The phrase may also be interpreted to imply that 
the habit of thinking by means of visual images is to be 
got rid ot In this sense it is a dangerous maxim. 

The first thinking of children is carried on in mental 
pictures. It is one of the aims of the school to lift the 
learner above this necessity of thinking in things by en- 
abling him to think in symbols. These symbols are in 
their turn visualized ; and we may have specimens of ar- 
rested development in the use of figures as well as in the 
use of fingers, blocks, or other objects employed in teach- 
ing the fundamental operations of integers and fractions. 
The principal of a well-known ward school aimed at great 
speed in arithmetical calculations. The results which his 
teachers obtained excited surprise and admira- Arrested 
tion. The test of progress was the number of deveiop- 
digits that a pupil could add, or subtract, or ™®^** 
multiply, or divide in a minute. The danger of this in- 
struction became apparent when it was found that of five 
or six hundred children driUed in that way only one ever 
reached the high school, and she was only a third-rate 
student, who never acquired skill or proficiency in think- 
ing in abstract and general terms. Mental energy was 
exhausted in the attempt to develop lightning calculators. 
There was no growth in the direction of thinking the 
laws and truths which make knowledge scientific. 

The untutored savage is guided by sense impressions ; 
he thinks in mental pictures ; he is incapable of a 
chain of reasoning like the demonstration of a ^j^^ ^j^^^^ 
theorem in geometry. Tribes have been found ing of sav- 
who could not count beyond three ; any num- ^^• 
ber in excess of two was called many or a multitude. 
Whilst their powers of observation were developed to a 
remarkable degree, they lacked the power of abstruse 



196 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

thonght Their desoendants, who are now afc school, 
make rapid progress in knowledge which apx>eals to the 
senses; they find more than the usnal difficulty in 
studies requiring demonstrative reasoning or sustained 
effort in scientific thought. Music is their delight ; they 
can be taught to sing like birds in the air ; their bands 
give sighs to brass itself. As in the eighteenth century 
the Iroquois, who would not submit to the doctrines of 
Christianity, were overcome by concerts, so, in the nine- 
teenth, the missionaries of British Columbia appeal to 
the red man's ear for music in winning him for the Chris- 
tian religion. 

Language is ftdl of faded metaphors which show how 
the things of the mind are conceived in images formed 
through the senses. Those who address popular audi- 
Fopuiar ences clothe their thoughts in figures of speech 
audiences, based upon the mental pictures in which the 
common people carry on their thinking. The ability 
to think in the language of science and philosophy is 
a later development, and those who by disuse or neglect 
impair their power to think in sense-images pay a penalty 
in losing, or never acquiring, the power to move the 
multitudes. 

The power to think in mental pictures, or through 
the sense-impressions which memory recalls, varies in 

Mental different persons. Occasionally the sense of 
pictures, touch is vcry active ; the child in such cases 
manifests a desire to handle everything within reach, and 
undoubtedly gains impressions of peculiar strength 
answering its desire to know. A limited number of chil- 
dren in every school get their best impressions through 
the ear, and hence are said to be ear-minded ; but the 
f2k£ larger proportion are eye-minded to the extent 
of connecting their most accurate knowledge with images 
obtained through vision. Similar peculiarities exist 



IMAGING AND THINKING, 197 

among older persons. A friend claims that he hears the 
voices of speakers while reading the proof-sheets of their 
speeches Another friend claims that he cannot bring up 
a mental picture of the faces of his children and his 
friends, but he writes out strains of music which he 
thinks and hears while seated on railway cars. The 
power of bringing up a vivid picture of the breakfast- 
table, or of some scene of special interest, is possessed by 
many persons. They live over again in memory the de- 
lights of travel, and enjoy scenery through the vivid 
mental pictures stored away in the treasure-house of 
memory. The ability to appreciate the best literature 
in prose and poetry depends largely upon the power of 
visualizing the realities at the basis of the descriptions and 
figures of si)eech. Francis G^alton thinks that the per- 
spicuous style of French literature and the wonderftd 
manual skill of the French people is due to their power 
of thinking in visual images. He says, — 

^^ The French appear to possess the visualizing faculty 
in a high degree. The peculiar ability they show in 
prearranging ceremonials and fdtes of all kinds The 
and their undoubted genius for tactics and French. 
strat^y show that they are able to foresee eflfects with 
unusual clearness. Their ingenuity in all technical con- 
trivances is an additional testimony in the same direc- 
tion, and so is their singular clearness of expression. 
Their phrase ^figurez-vous,' or ^picture to yourself,' 
seems to express their dominant mode of perception. 
Our equivalent of ' imagine' is ambiguous.'' * 

The profession of teaching owes Mr. Q^ton a special 
debt of gratitude for the light which his investigations 
throw upon the process of thinking. These investiga- 
tions were published in a volume entitled ^* Inquiries 

*F. Galton's " Inquiries into Human Faculty," pages 100, 101. 



198 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

into Human Faculty." When he b^an to inquire 

among his Mends as to their power to call up mental 

Gaiton'8 P^^tures of the breakfast-table, those engaged 

inve8tig»p in scientific pursuits were inclined to consider 

tions. 2^m fg^ncifdl and fantastic in supposing that the 
words mental imagery really expressed what he thought 
everybody supposed them to mean. He says they had no 
more notion of its true nature than a color-blind man who 
has not discerned his defect has of the nature of color. 
When he spoke to persons in general society, he got very 
different replies. Among other curious things which he 
discovered, he found that the power of thinking in 
sense-images, or mental pictures, may be partly in- 
herited, partly developed by practice, and that it may 
be impaired by disuse or by the habit of hard thinking 
peculiar to men engaged in scientific pursuits. Scientific 
men, as a class, have feeble powers of visual representa- 
tion. He reached the conclusion that ^^an over-ready 
perception of sharp mental pictures is antagonistic to the 
acquirement of highly generalized and abstract thought, 
especially when the steps of reasoning are carried on by 
words as symbols, and that if the faculty of seeing the 
pictures was ever possessed by men who think hard, it is 
very apt to be lost by disuse.'' 

He further claims that the visualizing faculty can be 
developed by education. This is very significant. It 

Wrong shows how unwisc methods may harm our cMl- 
methods. ^Jj^q jn |;^q directions. The wrong method 
may keep the mind at work in the concrete when the 
science under consideration demands more advanced and 
very different methods of thought. In the other direc- 
tion the mind may be tied to words, descriptions, book 
methods, and symbolic representations, whereas the 
thinking which one's future duties demand points in the 
direction of drawing, mechanics, and handicrafts, in 



IMAGING AND THINKING, 199 

which success tarns upon the power of thinking in visual 
images and mental pictures. One cannot forbear quoting 
his language in so far as it bears upon the thinking de- 
veloped by schools for inanual training in distinction 
from the thinking developed by the university which 
aims to fit its students for the professions and for scien- 
tific thought and experimental research. 

*^ There can, however, be no doubt as to the utility of 
the visualizing faculty when it is duly subordinated to 
the higher intellectual operations. A visual Thinking 
image is the most perfect form of mental repre- ^^ image*- 
sentation wherever the shape, position, and relations of 
objects in space are concerned. It is of importance in 
every handicraft and profession where design is required. 
The best workmen are those who visualize the whole of 
what they propose to do before they take a tool in their 
hands. The village smith and the carpenter who are 
employed on odd jobs employ it no less for their work 
than the mechanician, the engineer, and the architect 
The lady^s maid who arranges a new dress requires it 
for the same reason as the decorator employed on a 
palace, or the agent who lays out great estates. Strate- 
gists, artists of all denominations, physicists who con- 
trive new experiments, and, in short, all who do not 
follow routine, have need of it. The pleasure its use 
can afford is immense. I have many correspondents who 
say that the delight of recalling beautiful scenery and 
great works of art is the highest that they know 5 they 
carry whole picture-galleries in their minds. Our book- 
ish and wordy education tends to repress this valuable 
gift of nature. A faculty that is of importance in all 
technical and artistic occupations, that gives accuracy to 
our perceptions, and justness to our generalizatiotis is 
starved by lazy disuse instead of being cultivated judi- 
ciously in such a way as will, on the whole, bring the 



200 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

beet return. I believe that a serious study of the best 
method of developing and utilizing this faculty, without 
prejudice to the practice of abstract thought in symbols, 
is one of the many 'pressing desiderata in the yet un- 
formed science of education.'' * 

What is meant by the process of unselfing the wiQf 
If the maxim is interpreted to mean that education must 
eliminate the selfishness of the individual, and teach him 
to will and act for the good of humanity, especially of all 
with whom he comes in contact, the maxim points out an 
important end of education. If, on the other hand, the 
maxim is made to mean that the sel^ with its peculiari- 
ties, is to be sacrificed in the educative process, it carries 
a contradiction on its face. The lower self may have to 
be sacrificed in order that the higher self may be con- 
served. He that loseth his life shall save it; he that 
saveth his life shall lose it, is the teaching of Holy Writ. 

Open a dictionary and search for words indicating how 
the belief in the necessity of emancipating life from the 
dominion of self has been woven into the very texture 
of the English language. Egotism, which originally 
meant the excessive use of the pronoun I, has come to 
signify all kinds of self-praise, self-exaltation, and to 
include all manner of parading one's virtues and excel- 
lencies; egoism denotes a state of mind in which the 
feelings are concentrated on self. Vanity and self-conceit 
are two words closely allied to the natural selfishness of 
the human heart. The former indicates the feeling which 
springs from the thought that we are highly esteemed 
by others ; the latter is an overweening opinion of one's 
talents, capacities, and importance. There is another 
list of compound wor^s, like self-denial, self-sacrifice, 
self-abnegation, which point to the importance of elimi- 

* F. Gralton's " Inquiries into Human Faculty," pages 113, 114. 



IMAGING AND THINKING. 201 

nating self and thoughts of self from the soul's activities 
in thinking and willing. Virtues like humility, love, 
service, sacrifice, are lauded in every Christian land. 
They are the Christian virtues exemplified by Jesus of 
IN^azareth, who lived to do good to others, and who died 
that the sinning, sorrowing millions on earth might find 
peace and consolation for their troubled souls. 

The unselfing of the will depends as much upon right 
thinking as does the unsensing of the mind. The un- 
sensed mind deals too much with things near at hand in 
the objective world ; the unselfed will deals too much 
with the thing nearest to every man in the subjective 
world, — ^the individual self. The thought of self may 
enter so thoroughly into the feelings and activities of the 
soul that the rights of others are never thought 
of in the gratification of self and in the efforts 
at self-aggrandizement and self-glorification. Selfish de- 
sire and selfish ambition may dominate the soul and 
cause the individual to trample upon the dearest rights 
of others. The millions which some men heap up are 
squeezed from the productive toil of thousands, perhaps 
millions, of human hands. Colossal fortunes can seldom 
be made without reducing a considerable number of 
human beings to a condition of living from hand to 
mouth, to a state of chronic poverty. That the inordi- 
nate ambition of a masterftQ politician may be gratified, 
the hopes of other aspirants must be frustrated and their 
rights must be trampled upon. Hence in the end there 
is little happiness among ofl&ce-holders and ofl&ce-seekers. 
The selfishness of great conquerors is still more inex- 
cusable. In the effort to gratify an unholy ambition the 
lives of thousands are sacrificed, ^heir blood is spilt upon 
the battle-field, and their health is undermined by suffer- 
ing and disease. If the men who send the soldier to the 
front were themselves compelled to sleep in ditches, or to 




202 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

expose themselves to the fire of machine-guns upon the 
open field, wars would not be declared, or, if declared, 
would soon cease. 

The higher life demands that the lower self be subor- 
dinated, r^ulated and sublimated in the education of 
Self- man. The individual may be taught to find 
sacrifice, happiness in self-sacrifice for the sake of others, 
in deeds of love, charity, and benevolence. That this 
may result from the educative process, there should 
occur a change of heart, resulting in a change of view 
and in a transformation of the habits of bought so 
that self is seen in its true relation to mankind and to 
€k)d, so that the things of time and sen/se shall stand in 
true relation to the verities of eternity and the interests 
of the higher life. 

On the other hand, if the maxim is interpreted to 
mean that any gifts or powers of the self are to be sacri- 
iftced in preparation for a given calling, say for the army 
or navy, it becomes a dangerous heresy. The true end 
seif-devei- ^^ education is found in the harmonious devel- 
opment opment of all our faculties. Every man is in 
one sense the product of countless ages and generations, 
and from another point of view he is a new creation 
fresh from the hand of his Maker, and a distinct setting 
forth of the creative power of Him who said, '^ Let us 
make man in our own image, after our likeness.'' As 
such he has a claim upon immortality, as well as upon 
all the help which earth can give him towards a full 
realization of self. Every person feels that there are 
possibilities of his being which are never realized in this 
world ; that it will require the ceaseless ages of eternity 
to unfold and mature his God-given powers and traits. 
Any unselfing of the will in the sense of sacrificing or 
checking the growth and fruition of the best of which 
the self is capable, is a violation of Spencer's feunous 



IMAGING AND THINKING. 203 

definition that education is a preparation for complete 
living. 

What, then, is the relation of the imaging power to 
the proper unselfing of the will and the full realization 
of the self? '*A great deal of the selfishness of the 
world comes not from bad hearts, but from languid 
imaginations. '^ * To do justice to others, we must put 
ourselves in their place. This we cannot do except 
through the exercise of the imagination. The justice to 
imagination is the creative power of the mind, others. 
By means of it we can create for our thinking the 
world in which our neighbor lives, and learn to under- 
stand his motives, aims, hopes, needs, and temptations. 
This will keep us from many a mistake in judging his 
conduct and estimating his character. Moreover, this 
thinking of ourselves into the life and surroundings of 
our fellow-men is a condition of success in dealing with 
them. It helps the merchant to sell his wares and the 
teacher ^to govern his pupils. It helps the orator to 
reach the hearts of the audience whom he is address- 
ing, and the journalist to write editorials that will modify 
the views and mould the thinking of the reading public 
Every profession and every occupation requires the con- 
stant exercise of the imagination so that we may see life 
from our neighbor's point of view, and, in sympathizing 
with him or helping him, outgrow our innate selfishness. 
A hard, cruel, unforgiving man makes a failure of life 
even though he win riches, fame, and public position. 

By means of the imagination we paint ideals of life and 
conduct, which hover before the mind in the 

Ideftls 

hour of struggle and trial, luring us onward and 
upward, spurring us to greater effort, and giving to life 
added charms and glories. Without the power to im- 

♦ James Freeman Clarke's ** Self-Culture," page 183. 



204 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

agine what is beyond the real, the workman sinks to the 
level of drudgery, and never rises to the plane of artistic 
production. 

The imagination is very active in children. Watch 
their plays if you would see how they convert a stick into 
The child's * ^^^^^j the play-housc into a home, and mimic 
imaginar the drama of life in their games and contests, 
tion. Their life is largely make-believe and thinking 
in images. This tendency to think in images can b6 
utilized in the lessons in arithmetic, geometry, geography, 
and history. Without the combination of images into 
new forms and products, the pupil cannot think the 
thoughts peculiar to these branches. For in- 
^ ^* stance, the lesson in geography starts with what 
the child has seen or can see at home, and proceeds to 
that which is away from home, using pictures, drawings, 
lantern-slides, and vivid descriptions to aid the imagina- 
tion in picturing scenery, cities, countries, and forms of 
life in other parts of the globe. It may be a question 
what the mind should think in connection with the sym- 
bols and truths of that science. The form of a continent 
is without doubt best conceived as given on a map. For 
many practical purposes, cities may be thought as mere 
starting-points and halting-places in a journey. Many a 
river is for mature minds a winding black line on colored 
surfaces called maps. Nevertheless, if geography means 
for a pupil no more than this, it will be dry and unin- 
teresting indeed. Out of the images of things observed 
the mind should be led to construct images of what it 
has not seen. These images are never an adequate pic- 
ture of the foreign city or country, even after they have 
been supplemented or modified by visits to museums, 
conservatories, and zoological gardens, by excursions to 
the field, the forest, and the factory, or even by travel at 
home and abroad. The thoughts of a country that one 



IMAGING AND THINKING. 206 

has journeyed throngh, or lived in for a time, consist 
I)artly of images and partly of symbolic representations. 
Since thinking in images is easier for beginners than 
thinking in symbols, the instruction in geography should 
b^in with child-life at home, with the things on the 
breakfast-table, with the garments worn and the means 
of transportation used, and proceed from these to the 
life, the home, the dress, and the sports of children living 
in other lands and other climes. The lessons in 
geography make constant apx>eals to the imagination, 
and call for thinking in images or mental-pictures in 
connection with map-symbols and the discussions of 
causes and laws. 

Ifot less valuable is the power of imaging in the study 
of history. Many details are worthless and meaningless 
until the imagination weaves them into a &bric 
in which their relations and significance be- ^* 

come apparent. So far as the trend of history is con- 
cerned, it would have mattered very little if the name of 
the ship in which the Pilgrim Mhers sailed had been 
Aprilshower instead of Mayflower, if the number of pas- 
sengers had been one hundred and one instead of exactly 
one hundred, if they had landed at some place other 
than Plymouth Bock. Their coming, their compact, 
their religious life and purposes were of chief importance. 
Details help to fill out the mental picture of their voyage, 
landing, and settlement. They throw a halo of interest 
around the central event, or germinal idea. Or, to change 
the figure, they ftirnish the scaflFolding by means of which 
the teacher gradually raises the edifice of historical 
knowledge. Afljer the edifice has been completed the 
scaffolding may be removed. After the essential or cen- 
tral idea has been grasped and fixed, details like the name 
of the ship, the number of emigrants, and the exact day 
of their arrival may be forgotten. The mind can often 



206 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

onload the laggage that is not absolutely needed, and 
move with more ease and speed into new fields of thought 
and investigation. 

(Jeometry has been aptly styled eine Angenwissen- 
schaft, ^^ a science of the eye" (the last word being used 
Geometry ^^* ^ *^® objcct with which the science deals, 
but as the means by which its ideas are ac- 
quired). The line drawn upon the black-board has 
breadth, and is not at all a mathematical line. Through 
the eye it serves to suggest the line which has length 
without breadth or thickness. Progress in solid geome- 
try is impossible if the mind does not image or conceive 
the volumes of three dimensions indicated by the draw- 
ings on a surface which has but two dimensions. In 
arithmetic many of the ousiness transactions upon which 
Arithm ti *^® problems are based have not come into the 
experience of the child, but must be evolved by 
api>eals to the imagination if the solutions are to be 
brought within easy reach of the understanding. The 
power of combining images into new forms aids greatly 
in the construction of apparatus and in the making of 
exx>eriments. It helps the scientist to evolve his theories 
and hypotheses. It is the faculty by which man becomes 
a creator in science, art, literature, and philosophy. 

Few suggestions for the exercise of the creative imagi- 
nation can be given. Here rules are more of a hinderance 
Creative ^^^^ ^ help. The imagination is not creative 
imaginar in the scusc of cvolviug Something out of 

^^^' nothing,— this notion has misled many in their 
estimate of genius, — ^but in the sense of producing that 
which never existed, at least for the individual himself 
Its, activity has been denominated plastic from the fact 
that it moulds and fashions the materials or images into 
the forms which the new product is to assume. The in- 
fluence of judgment is needed to keep the imagination 



IMAGING AND THINKING. 207 

from violating the laws and principles inherent in the 
things from which its materials are drawn. The under- 
standing aids and is aided by this creative, plastic func- 
tion of the imagination. The two should have free play 
in productive thinking. Let the student of science or 
art saturate himself with the theme on which productive 
he is working ; let him keep health and energy tanking, 
of body and mind at their highest point ; let him concen- 
trate his best powers on what is to be accomplished, 
keeping clearly in mind the end to be reached and the 
materials to be used 5 the product for which he is work- 
ing will spring into being in ways that he cannot explain, 
like an unfathomable well which has been gathering its 
waters through hidden channels from mysterious sourC/CS, 
the stream of thought comes welling up from the depth 
of the soul into the conscious life of the thinker, giving 
him the living waters by which he can satisfy the thirst 
for knowledge felt by other souls. In expressing, formu- 
lating, and communicating the thoughts which thus come 
to him he cannot help feeling the ''joy of creating.^' 
"The history of literature, '^ says Shedd, ''ftimishes 
many examples of men whose knowledge only increased 
their sorrow, because it never found an efflux from their 
own minds into the world. Knowledge uncommunicated 
is something like remorse unconfessed. The Knowledge 
mind, not being allowed to go out of itself, and uncommu- 
to direct its energies towards an object and end ^^*®** 
greater and worthier than itself, turns back upon itself, 
and becomes morbidly self-reflecting and self-conscious. 
A studious and reflecting man of this class is character- 
ized by excessive fastidiousness, which makes him dissat- 
isfied with all that he does himself or sees done by others ; 
which represses and finally suppresses all the buoyant 
and spirited activity of the Intellect, leaving it sluggish 
as 'the dull weed that rots by Lethe's wharf.' '' 



208 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

^No teacher and no system of training can fnmisli both 

brains and culture. It is not the mission of any person 

Forms of ^ Create in every line of effort. Some find 

creative their joy in evolving and expressing thought 

^°^* with tongue or i)en, others through the brush 
or the chisel, and still others through machinery and the 
handicrafbs. In every occupation man may experience 
the joy of creating if his powers of imaging are allowed 
to play and interplay with other activities of thought 
Each in normal conditions helps the others, and the 
activity of all combined is essential to complete living. 



XIII 
THE STREAM OF THOUGHT 



14 ao9 



At Learning's fountain it is sweet to drink, 
But 'tis a nobler privilege to think ; 
And oft, from books apart, the thirsting mind 
May make the nectar which it cannot find. 
'Tis well to borrow from the good and great ; 
'Tis wise to learn ; 'tis godlike to create ! 

J. G. Saie. 

Madame Swetchine says that to have ideas is to gather flowers : 
to think is to weave them into garlands. There could be no hap- 
pier synonjnn for thinking than the word weaving, — b, putting to- 
gether of the best products of observation, reading, exi)erience, and 
travel so as to represent a i)attemed whole, receiving its design 
from the weaver's own mind. We have plenty of flowers; we 
want more garlands. We have libraries, books, and newspapers; 
we want more thinkers. 

T. Shabpeb Knowi^n. 



310 



XIII 

THE STREAM OF THOUGHT 

In sx>eaking of our inner life we employ language that 
abounds in metaphors drawn from the external world. 
Some are faded metaphors ; others are still fresh and new 
jBnough to suggest what was in the minds of those first 
using them. Many of these metaphorical expressions 
draw attention to one side or phase of the truth. If 
pressed with the design of mining them embody the 
whole truth, they become untruths. 

One fact of our waking consciousness id that thought 
goes on without stopping so long as we remain awake. 
Indeed, some philosophers have drawn the inference that 
the soul always thinks, that duuing the hours of deep 
sleep the brain-centres may be at rest, but that thought 
nevertheless flows on in the unconscious depths of our 
being. Locke combats this idea at length and The flow of 
with more than usual warmth. During sleep *^o^*^*- 
on a railway train we sometimes seem to be awake, the 
ends of our conscious thinking apparently fitting into 
each other without gaps ; and yet the calling out of the 
stations convinces us that we must have been wrapped in 
unconscious slumber when we passed certain stations 
without noticin that the train stopped and the stations 
were announced. On the other hand^ it is the experience 
of earnest students that the striking of a clock may escax)e 
notice because the mind has been deeply absorbed in a 
difficult problem. 

The question need not concern us beyond the fact that 
the thinking of our most wakeful moments x>erpetually 
plays into our sub-conscious life. In order that the flow 

211 



212 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

of thought welling up from the deepest depths of the sonl 
may be clear, copious, and full, it is the duty of the 
Teacher's tcachcr to keep himself and his pupils wide 

duty. awake during the hours of study and recitation. 
He should not worry them by excessive tasks or unrea- 
sonable examinations so that the hours of sleep are dis- 
turbed by dreams, followed during the day by weariness 
and fatigue. The folly of burning the midnight oil and 
of spending too many hours each day in mental toil is 
fraught with evil consequences in the domain of thought. 
In the main Harbaugh was right when he undertook to 
change Franklin's maxim about early rising into the fol- 
lowing form : " Gk) to bed early, and get up late ; but then 
keep awake all day.'' 

So fer as we are aware, thought is going forward con- 
tinuously while we are awake. This phase of conscious- 
Thought ^^^ ^^^ \>e/&n likened to a stream, and has 

like a given rise to the expression, The stream of 
stream. tJuyoght. The metaphor can be pressed very far 
without conveying untruths. A stream does not always 
flow with the same velocity. It is at times deep, at other 
times shallow, now moving forward like a swollen tor- 
rent, now flowing placidly with scarcely a wave or a 
ripple perceptible on its surface. Here its smooth course 
is disturbed by wind and storm and rain ; there its even 
flow is influenced by rocks and irregularities in the bed 
of the stream. Again and again its current is modified 
by affluents which empty their waters into the main 
stream, perhaps changing the appearance from clear to 
cloudy or muddy, or, it may be, exerting the opposite 
effect. To all these x)eculiaritie6 in the flow of the stream 
there are likenesses in the stream of thought At times 
it is deep and at other times shallow, now violent and 
disturbed, now calm and placid, sometimes clear to the 
bottom, sometimes cloudy, yea, muddy, always modified 



THE STREAM OF THOUGHT. 213 

more or less by influences from without, which are taken 
up into the main current of thought and alter the stream 
like the tributaries of a great river. 

On reaching the level country a river may spread out 
into a lake, resulting in a clearing up of the water and 
resembling the x>eriods of calm meditation during which 
the soul clarifies its thinking. The lifelike behavior of 
rivers and the carving of land forms from their youth 
through maturity to old age have furnished many a 
figure of speech for our poetic literature. The change 
from the active upper waters to the sedate lower current 
may typify the change in the stream of thought as we 
pass from youth to age. While the volume of the stream 
is small and the channel lacks depth, it is easy to change 
the direction of the current, as sometimes hapi>ens when 
a straight channel is dug to take the place of its wind- 
ings. In early life the stream of thought is apt to wander 
in meandering courses ; the teacher may very 
frequently find it necessary to keep the mind 
from wandering, to direct the stream of thought towards 
the destined goal, and to make it groove for itself chan- 
nels in harmony with logical habits. In teaching pupils 
to think it is quite as essential to give direction to 
thought as it is to furnish either thought-stimulus or 
thought-material. In one respect the metaphor, stream 
of thought, fails utterly to express the truth. The con- 
stituents of thought are not related to each other like the 
molecules of a liquid which move freely among them- 
selves. Thoughts have a connection with those that pre- 
cede and those that follow. An inner nexus binds the 
successive portions of a demonstration. Hence other 
figures of speech have been employed to denote other 
the connection between the successive elements metaphors. 
of a logical proof, such as the train of thought, the line 
of aigument, the chain of reasoning. 



214 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

It will be readily admitted that often our thinking is so 
loose and disjointed that its component parts resemble 
the liquid more than the chain, whereas our best think- 
ing — namely, that which leads to a goal in the shax)e of 
a trustwortliy conclusion — resembles a train of cars in 
which motive power is derived not from steam, but from 
a conscious expenditure of will-power. The. teacher may 
X>erform the triple frmction of fireman, engineer, and 
switch-tender, supplying the fuel for the process, r^u- 
lating the speed, and directing it along the lines of track 
which lead to the desired goal. It is as natural for a 
pupil to think as it is for a stream to flow towards the 
ocean. The stream may run shallow if no supply of 
watOT is received from the outside. It is the mission of 
the teacher to keep up the supply, to remove as far as 
possible the obstructions which are likely to throw the 
current of thought into unexpected channels. It is a 
I)eculiarity of this current of thinking that it is cog- 

cognitive nitive, or possesses the function of knowing. 

function. Human thought resembles the stream in seem- 
ingly taking up and carrying what was not a part of 
itself Just as the stream of water carries minerals in 
solution as well as silt, sand, pebbles, and even heavier 
objects, so the stream of thought appears to lay hold of 
objects and to carry them as part of itself. Here, how- 
ever, the strings of the analogy break. The stream of 
thought is in the mind ; the objects with which it deals 
are outside of the mind. Mental pictures of these objects 
float in the stream of thought as objects on the bank 
of a river are mirrored in its waters ; yet the parallel is 
not complete, because the mind may turn the eye upon 
itself and make what is thus seen the object of thought 
This turning upon itself may be likened to eddies in the 
stream. But even when the mind thus turns back ui)on 
itself and views its own states and activities, these are 



THE STREAM OF THOUGHT, 216 

regarded as objective, as related to the thinking process 
very much like the objects of knowledge in the external 
world. 

Another imx>ortant phase of thinking finds no likeness 
in any of the figures of speech above referred to. The 
mind meets certain objects of thought on which it seems 
to tarry or fasten itself. This has led some writers to 
deny that the stream of thought is a continuous current* 
This view causes undue stress to be laid upon the mate- 
rial of thought, and leads the teacher to undervalue his 
function as directing guide in teaching pupils to think. 
Even Professor Bain claims that, — 

"The stream of thought is not a continuous current, 
but a series of distinct ideas, more or less rapid in their 
succession, the rapidity being measurable by Bain's 
the number that pass through the mind in a view, 
given time. Mental excitement is constantly judged of 
by this test ; and if we choose to count and time the 
thoughts as they succeed one another, we could give so 
much moi;iB precision to the estimate.'' * 

These transitions should not be confounded with the 
relations between objects of thought or between objects 
in the external world. The relations may be Transi- 
part of the thought of that which is i)erceived tions. 
or known, or they may be made distinct ideas or 
thoughts. The important phase under consideration is 
the passage of the mind from one idea or thought to 
another. Such transitions are quite as important and 
quite as much a part of the current of thought as the 
premises and conclusions on which the mind seems to 
rest. These two phases of the thought-process may be 
hkened to the perching and the fiight of a bird. This 
'figure of speech is used by Professor James, among 

♦ Barn's " The Emotion and the Will," page 29. 



216 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

whose services to the profession of teaching it is not the 
least that he has caUed attention to the importance of 

T^o these transitions in the stream of conscious- 
phases, ness. His account is so lucid and satisfaiCtory 
that one cannot forbear to quote his words at some 
length. Eeferring to the stream of thought, he says,— 

^^Like a bird's life, it seems to be made up of an 

alternation of flights and perchings. The rhythm of 

view of la^ig^^*^^ expresses this, where every thought 

Professor is cxprcssod in a sentence and every sentence 

James, eloscd by a i)eriod. The resting-places are 
usually occupied by sensorial imaginations of some sort, 
whose peculiarity is that they can be held before the 
mind for an indefinite time and contemplated without 
changing ; the places of flight are filled with thoughts of 
relations, static or dynamic, that for the most part obtain 
between the matters contemplated in the periods of com- 
parative rest. Let us caU the haUing'pktces the ^substan- 
tive' parts and the places of flight the ' transitive' parts 
of the stream of thought. It then appears that the main 
need of our thinking is at all times the attainment of 
some other substantive part than the one from which we 
have just been dislodged. And we may say that the 
main use of the transitive parts is to lead us from one 
substantive conclusion to another. Now it is very diffi-. 
cult, introspectively, to see the transitive parts for what 
they really are. ' If they are but flights to a conclusion, 
stopping them to look at them before a conclusion Is 
reached is really annihilating them. Whilst if we wait 
until the conclusion be reached, it so exceeds them in 
vigor and stability that it quite eclipses and swallows 
them up in its glare. Let any one try to cut a thought 
in the middle and get a look at its section, and he will 
see how difficult the introsx>ective observation of the 
transitive tract is. The rush of the thought is so head- 



THE STREAM OF THOUGHT 217 

long that it almost always brings us up at the conclusion 
before we can arrest it. Or if our purpose is nimble 
enough and we do arrest it, it ceases forthwith to be 
itself. As a snow-flake crystal caught in the warm hand 
is no longer a crystal, but a drop, so, instead of catching 
the feeling of relation moving to its term, we find we 
have caught some substantive thing, usually the laat word 
we were pronouncing, statistically taken, and with its 
fonction, tendency^ and particular meaning in the sen- 
tence quite evaporated. The attempt at introspective 
analysis in these cases is, in &ct, like seizing a spinning 
top to catch its motion, or trying to turn up the gas 
quickly enough to see the darkness. And the challenge 
to produce these psychoses, which is sure to be thrown 
by doubting i)sychologists at any one who contends for 
their existence, is as unfair as 2feno's treatment of the 
advocates of motion, when, asking them to point out in 
what place an arrow is when it moves, he argues the 
falsity of their tliesis from their inability to make to so 
preposterous a qiestion an immediate reply.'' * 

The science ol logic deals almost altogether with the 
halting-places, with the substantive parts, with the ideas, 
notions, concepts that are to be compared, and with 
the resulting judgments, inferences, and conclusions. 
Whether the teaclier has studied the science of logic or 
not, it is to these he devotes his chief attention ; they 
can be analyzed, defined, and clearly fixed as thought- 
products or knowMge. Defects in the thinking-process 
are apt to show themselves here ; at least, they furnish 
tangible data ^r criticism, corrections, and Nouns. 
reviews. Thes^ thought-products on which the veru, etc. 
mind loves to linger are denoted by nouns, verbs, ad- 
jectives, and $averbs,— the parts of speech which con- 

/ 

* Jame^s " Psychology," vol. L, pages 243, 244. 

/ 
/ 



218 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

stitnte the bulk of the vocabulary of every language. 
The movements of the mind from one object of thought 
to another are indicated by conjunctions and other con- 
nectives. Thinkers are often known by their fiavorite 
Con- connective words and phrases. Pupils catch 
nectives. thcsc from the phrascology of their teachers, 
or pick them up unconsciously from the books they 
read. Some languages are richer in such connective 
words and phrases than others ; the mind carries away 
some influence in the way of making these transitions 
in thought from every language which it studies ; its 
thinking is moulded by the language which it masters. 
Logic has very little to say about these transitions for 
which one language sometimes supplies words and ex- 
pressions altogether wanting in another. Frequently we 
grow conscious of them through the feeling of a gap to 
be filled, or of a chasm to be leai)ed over, or of an 
obstacle to be cleared away, or of sonething that ob- 
structs our thinking and hinders it from reaching the 
goal. Here again one cannot refrain from quoting Pro- 
fessor James, although his words do not indicate that he 
fully realizes the value for elementary instruction of 
what he has written. Here are his words : 

^^The truth is that large tracts of iiuman speech are 
nothing but signs of direction in thought, of which direc- 
tion we, nevertheless, have an acutely discriminative 
sense, though no definite sensorial intage plays any part 
in it whatsoever. Sensorial images are stable psychic 
facts ] we can hold them still, and look at them as long 
as we like. These bare images of logicil movements, on 
the contrary, are i)sychic transitions, alT^ays on the wing, 
so to speak, and not to be glimpsed except in flight 
Their function is to lead from one sefc of images to 
another. As they pass, we feel both the ^raxing and the 
waning images in a way quite different fr)m the way of 



THE STREAM OF THOUGHT 219 

their ftill presence. If we try to hold fast the feeling of 
direction, the fall presence comes, and the feeling of 
direction is lost. The blank verbal scheme of logical 
movement gives us the fleeting sense of the movement as 
we read it, quite as well as does a rational sentence 
awakening definite imaginations by its words." * 

Bight here the teacher who is an artist finds the oppor- 
tunity for the display of his highest skill. It is his 
privilege to direct the flights and the i)erch- D^j^ting 
ings of the youthful mind. He can shax>e the the youth- 
thoughts and their sequence. He can cause ^^™^^- 
the intellect to move from the reason to its consequence, 
or in the reverse direction if that be more natural or 
more appropriate. He can guide the thought from cause 
to effect, from the whole to the parts, from the general to 
the particular, from the end to the means, from the de- 
sign to its execution ; or a movement the other way is 
possible in each of these categories. While thus choosing 
the direction which thought shall take, he can select the 
objects upon which it shall tarry. This directing influ- 
ence he will often exert when he is not aware of it. His 
own habits of mind will be reflected in the mental life of 
his pupils. There was profound philosophy in the reply 
of a gifted author who, when asked by his daughter what 
she should study, said, ^^I am more concerned about the 
teachers under whom you study than about the branches 
of study which you may select." Habits of thought de- 
pend fax more ui)on the teacher than ui)on the text-book, 
npon the quality of the instruction than upon its general 
content There is, of course, a difference in the culture 
value of different branches of study ; but a study as 
valuable as geometry may be pursued in a loose way, 
whilst branches of much inferior value for developing 

* James's " Psychology," vol. i., page 253 



220 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

power to think may "be taught and studied by the methods 
of rigid and exact thought. 

In shaping the activity of thought^ the artist-teacher 
makes the mind tarry long enough for clear apprehen- 
TheartiBt- siou, somctimcs for thorough comprehension, 
teaciier- upon the idcas, judgments, and conclusions 
which are the framework of a system of thought, 
but he does not neglect the transitions from one to the 
other, as if these were of little account or necessarily 
took care of themselves. The transitions in thought are 
aided by set phrases and forms of solution. As soon 
as these are mastered, there develox>s the tendency to 
think them as algebraic symbols^ which do substitute 
duty in the absence of that for which they stand. 
For fear of this, the teacher sometimes fails to drill on 
them long enough to fix them in the mind, — certainly a 
radical mistake. Drill is a condition of the highest dis- 
cipline in the school as well as in the army. The drill- 
master seeks to habituate the soldier to the word of com- 
mand, so that he will obey in the face of danger without 
thinking of the consequences. The drill-master at school 
seeks to make it second nature for a pupil to go through 
the logical motions, but not without conscious thought 
of the process or the consequences. Whenever the 
learner uses forms of parsing, analysis, or solution, his 
mind should go through the movements of thought ex- 
pressed by the language. Ask any ordinary class to give 
you a noun of the first person ; tiiey are almost sure to 
give you either a noun of the third person or a pronoun 
of the first person. Dictate a sentence with a noun in 
the first i>erson, and ask the pupils to parse it in the 
customary way ; in nearly all cases they will parse it as 
a noun of the third i)erson. Ask them to tell why a 
personal pronoun is so called 5 frequently they say be- 
cause it indicates a person, — a statement quite applicable 



THE STREAM OF THOUGHT. 221 

to other kinds of pronouiis. If the logical or customary 
forms of speech are employed, the stream of thought 
moves on, the mind often failing to perceive Fonnsof 
the new truth, or error, or nonsense inherent speech. 
in the language employed. School-boys have tricks of 
their own which turn upon this peculiarity in the move- 
ment of thought. ^^Who killed Cainf' is suddenly 
asked. ^^Abel,'' is the reply generally elicited by the 
question. Should you say, Nine times seven is or are 
forty-two ! The boy who decides in favor of is or are 
gets a shock of surprise on being told that the product 
of nine times seven is not forty-two. 

One day a teacher was lecturing upon education in the 
dark ages. To show how the energies of the common 
people were exhausted in the struggle for exist- a strange 
ence, the resolution of a synod in the south of reply- 
France was cited. The resolution enjoined upon the 
bishops the duty of seeing to it that during a period of 
scarcity of food the peasants were at least provided with 
bread made of acorns. A few minutes later a reference 
was made to the autobiography of Thomas Platter, in 
which certain things are described as hapi)ening about 
the time of the Diet of Worms. On being asked in 
what period of history that was, a pupil promptly re- 
plied, " When the common people were fed on worms." 

Very much of the sermonizing of our day gives rise to 
the same kind of thinking. The mind is borne along by 
the customary flow of words. The phrases used have an 
orthodox sound ; i)erhaps they are biblical in the sense 
that they occur in the Bible. It is impossible Bi^ucai 
to tell whether any clear idea or real religious phrase- 
experience is suggested to the hearer's mind by **^**y- 
the words used. The ideas excited in the hearer should 
be those for which the words stand in the mind of the 
speaker. If the ideas of the sx>eaker are not clear, how 



222 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

can his words suggest anything definite to the audienoe! 

Huxley relates an amnsing story of an after-dinner ora- 

Huxiey'B ^^ w^<> ^^^ endowed with a voice of rare flexi- 

Btory. bility and power, and with a fine flow of words, 
and who was called upon to speak without much prepa- 
ration. The applause was terrific When Huxley asked 
a neighbor who was especially enthusiastic what the 
orator had said, the latter could not tell. Nothing was 
lacking in the post-prandial speech save sense and occa- 
sionally grammar.* 

The fuller consideration of the stream of thought in 
listening and lecturing, in reading, si)eaking, and com- 
posing, is deserving of separate chapters. The mental 
attitude in listening resembles that in getting thought 
from the printed page. Silent reading is for the reader's 
own benefit ; it comprises by fer the larger proportion 
of our reading. In oral reading, the stream of thought 
is somewhat different, the aim being similar to that of 
public speaking, — namely, to suggest or convey to the 
hearer thoughts from some other mind. In the act of 
composing, the aim is to evolve thought from the mind's 
own resources and activities. The thought process is 
very much the same, no matter whether we dictate to a 
stenographer, or speak to an audience, or use the pen 
in giving to it form and abiding shape. It will be most 
convenient to treat together the stream of thought in 
listening and in silent reading, and to reserve for separate 
consideration the activity of the mind in writing, speak- 
ing, and oral reading. 

* Huxley's " Discourses, Biological and Geological Essays," pages 
vi, vii. 



XIV 

THE STREAM OF THOUGHT IN LISTEN- 
ING AND READING 



228 



Reading is thinking along a prescribed line that lies goldenly 
beneath the flow of words. 

Bbubcbaugh. 

Whittier uses words as stepping-stones upon which with a light 
and joyous bound he crosses and recrosses at will the rapid and 
rushing stream of thought. 

Longfellow. 

To listen well is to think well, — ^the hearing ear must be attended 
by the alert mind, eager to seize upon incoming sensations and 
weave them into a garland of thought. 

M. G. B. 

Words, however well constructed originally, are always tending, 
like coins, to have their inscription worn off by passing from hand 
to hand ; and the only possible mode of reviving it is to be ever 
stamping it afresh by living in the habitual contemplation of the 
phenomena themselves, and not resting in our familiarity with the 
words that express them. 

J. S. Mill. 



224 



XIV 

THE STREAM OF THOUGHT IN LISTEN- 
ING AND READING 

Two men engaged in speculative pursuits met ^ 
after one had published a book. Let us speak suggestiTe 
of them as A and B. dialogue. 

A : I have just read your new book. Many things in 
it please me very much, but in it you say so and so, with 
which I do not find myself in full accord. 

B : I say nothing of the kind in that book. 

A : I surely read your book. 

B : You never read a book in your life. You read 
some sentences or paragraphs ; your mind begins to react 
ux>on what you have read ; and ere long you imagine 
that your inferences are the conclusions of the author. 

A : I have a notion to write a i)sychology, and to set 
forth my views in full. 

B : Don't you do it. You know no psychology. You 
have been of great service in stimulating others to think ; 
you are a most delightful lecturer ; but you have never 
mastered i)sychology. 

If a third party could have listened to the conversa- 
tion, what stream of consciousness would have started in 
his mind! Possibly surprise at the frankness of B and 
the composure of A, mingled with thoughts of what they 
were discussing. In other words, a strong tinge 
of feeling would be perceptible in the stream of ^ 
thought In the minds of the two engaged in the dia- 
logue, feeling must have greatly modified the current of 
thought. The greatest kindness that can be shown to 

16 225 



226 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

some men is to oppose or criticise their views. Opposi- 
tion and criticism stimulate their thinking, and rouse 
their mental powers to the highest possible tension and 
activity. In men of the opi)osite temi)erament, feeling 
beclouds their thinking, and makes the stream of thought 
more sluggish. The common prejudice against appeals 
to feeling are due to the abuse of the right which every 
orator has of addressing the feelings through the intellect, 
and of thereby moving the wilL To move the will is 
the essence and aim of all eloquence. In listening or 
lecturing, in reading or composing, some form of emotion 
always accompanies the stream of thought. The orator 
may move the hearer to tears or to laughter ; he is not 
untrue to his mission if he can thereby win a vote, secure 
a verdict, or move the hearer to action. A lecture is 
addressed primarily to the understanding. It is greatly 
improved if the stream of thought which it starts and 
supplies is accompanied by feelings of interest and the 
pleasurable emotions attendant upon novelty, 

Interest ... ^ • • -i mi. 

curiosity, or admirmg approval. The con- 
sciousness that we understand a lecture is accompanied 
by pleasurable emotions which help to sustain the atten- 
tion. 

The writer once paid a shilling to hear Spurgeon. It 

was his purpose to get a good seat, so that he might 

study this famous preacher's gestures and de- 

mgeon. ^^^^^^ ^^ quality of his voice, and the secret 
of his eloquence. The text was hardly announced be- 
fore every one in the audience, including the writer, 
forgot all about Spurgeon, and thought only of his mes- 
sage to the thousands before him. The secret of his 
oratory lay in his ability to make the audience forget 
everything except the gospel he was preaching. If 
people, after hearing a speaker, talk of his fine delivery, 
his flowery language and beautiful figures of speech, or 



THOUGHT IN LISTENING AND READING. 227 

his peculiarities of pronunciation and other eccentricities, 
it is proof positive that he has failed. Instead of hold- 
ing the attention to what he was saying, the audience 
was thinking of his manner and deliveryi A well- 
printed book has the advantage of keeping the author's 
I)ersonal characteristics from interfering with the stream 
of thought. It has the disadvantage of losing all the 
heljws to listening and thinking which come from the 
tones of the voice and eloquent delivery. 

The accusation of B against A, referred to at the begin- 
ning of this chapter, is applicable to many readers. For 
several sentences the mind is riveted upon the author's 
meaning. Presently a train of thought starts ; the eye 
runs along the sentences to the bottom of the page. On 
turning the page, the reader wakes up to the conscious- 
ness that his mind does not retain, perhaps never had 
the slightest notion of the contents of said page. Often 
the train of thought leads to no goal ; the thinking re- 
sembles the process of wool-gathering, the tufts of wool 
on bushes and hedges necessitating much wandering to 
little purpose. 

For the sake of cultivating ability to think, students 
are advised to read the works of great thinkers, like 
Kant, Schleiermacher, and Hegel. Such read- ,^^^ ^o^ks 
ing is often a sham and a delusion. ISo one of great 
has done more to shape the critical thinking of *^*^^®"- 
the world than Kant; and yet how many young men 
waste time upon his pages because they are not prepared 
to think his thoughts. Schleiermacher stimulated and 
modified the thinking of theologians in every department 
of their science except Old Testament exegesis ; and yet 
the celebrated Dr. Kahnis, of the University of Leipsic, 
used to say of Schleiermacher, ^^Er ist rein nicht zum 
studiren." Nevertheless, students for the ministry have 
been known to waste hours in trying to read his writings, 



228 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

which they were not prepared to understand. Of the 
obscnrer passages in H^el an eminent authority says, 
*^ It is a fEur question whether the rationality included in 
them be anything more than the £a>ct that the words all 
belong to a common vocabulary, and are strung together 
on a scheme of predication and relation, — immediacy, 
self-relation, and what not, — ^which has habitually re- 
curred. Yet there seems no reason to doubt that the 
subjective feeling of the rationality of these sentences 
was strong in the writer as he penned them, or even that 
some readers by straining may have reproduced it in 
themselves.'' * 

It may be worth an honest effort for students and 
teachers to try to grasp the meaning of such writers ] bat 
if after a fair trial the mind is left empty of meaning, it 
is wise to follow the advice of Locke with regard to ob- 
scure ancient authors : 

''In reading of them, if they do not use their words 
with a due clearness and i)erspicuity, we may lay them 
aside, and, without any injury done them, resolve thus 
with ourselves : 

* James's " Psychology," vol. i., page 264. Of Charles Darwin's 
habits of reading, his son says, '^ I have often heard him say that 
he got a kind of satisfaction in reading articles which (according to 
himself) he could not understand. I wish I could reproduce the 
manner in which he would laugh at himself for it.'' Of his scien- 
tific readinjg, this son writes as follows: "Much of his scientific 
reading was in German, and this was a great labor to him ; in 
reading a book after him, I was often struck at seeing, from the 
pencil-marks made each day where he left off, how little he coold 
read at a time. He used to call German the ' Yerdammte,' pro- 
nounced as if in English. He was especially indignant with Ger- 
mans, because he was convinced that they could write simply if 
they chose, and often praised Dr. F. Hildebrand for writing Ger- 
man which was as clear as French." — " Life and Letters of Charles 
Darwin," vol. L, page 103. 



THOUGHT IN LISTENING AND READING. 229 

'^ Si non vis intelligi, debes negligi.'' * 

Several months or years of study may be required to 
prepare the mind for grasping the ideas or phraseology 
of new departments of investigation, ^o one can com- 
prehend the treatises on physiological psychology with- 
out devoting several weeks to the anatomy of the brain. 

The words, phrases, and sentences of the printed or 
written page should call up in the mind of the reader 
that for which they stand in the mind of the author. 
What the stream of thought should be in reading a book 
is well worthy of careful consideration. G. H. 

Beading. 

Lewes, in ^'Problems of Life and Mind,'' 
claims that ^^our thought is a constant interchange of 
ideas and images, some trains of thought being carried 
on mainly by images more or less vivid, others mainly by 
ideas with only a fiaint escort of images." It should be 
said, by way of explanation, that he does not use the 
word ideas in the Platonic sense of patterns fixed in 
nature, of which the individual objects in any given class 
are but imi)erfect copies, and by participation in which 
they have their being ; nor in the sense of a mental image 
or picture, which (in opposition to Sir William Hamil- 
ton), the Century Dictionary claims, has been the more 
common meaning of the term in English literature since 
the sixteenth century. In Lewes' s pages ideas never 
stand for images, nor for copies of sensations. Sully 
says that the term idea is used to include both images 
and concepts, marking off the whole region of the repre- 
sentative from the presentative, but that, like the term 
notion, it now tends to be confined to concepts. With 
Lewes all ideas are thoughts, but not all thoughts are 
ideas. He does not reject the popular usage of the word 
in phrases like the idea of Shakespeare's Othello, of Bis- 

* Locke's " Human Understanding," vol. ii., page 86. 



230 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

marck's policy. Take the following sentence from Jnstin 
McCarthy's " History of Our Own Times :" ^' Unluckily, 
Lord Palmerston became x>osse6sed with the idea that the 
French minister in Greece was secretly setting the Greek 
government on to resist our claims. '' In thinking the 
thought of this sentence the mind is not filled with any 
images of Greece or mental pictures of any other kind. 
Possibly the adjective Greek may bring to the minds of 
some persons the map symbol of Greece or even scenery 
and cities in Greece, especially if they have travelled or 
resided there ; but such mental pictures really interfere 
with the current of thought in reading. In planning a 
route from iNew York to San Francisco one is apt to 
think it in the lines and dots of railway mai)s. That in 
the mind for which words stand may be styled their 
meaning, and Lewes claims that much of our reading 
Lewes's docs not translate the words into their full sig- 

▼lew. nification, but proceeds by a process of logical 
symbolism. He asserts that ^Hhe greater proportion of 
all men's thinking goes forward with confident reliance 
on the correctness of the logical operations, and witii 
only an occasional translation of symbols into images. 
The translation — verification— does, indeed, from time to 
time take place, and always in proportion to the novelty 
of the connections ] but how easily and how fatally the 
mind glides along the path of logical oi)eration without 
pausing to interpret more thin the relation of the sym- 
bols is humorously illustrated in the common story of a 
physicist, whose claim to omniscience was the joke of his 
Mends. Being asked earnestly whether he had ^read 
Biot's pai)er on the malleability of light!' ^No,' he 
replied ; ^ he sent it me, but I have not yet had time to 
read it.' " 

Lewes' s meaning is made somewhat clearer by two 
examples which he uses, ^'Suppose you inform me 



THOUGHT IN LISTENING AND HEADING, 231 

that the blood rushed violently from the man's heart, 
quickening his poise, at the sight of his enemy. Of 
the many latent images in this phrase, how many ^n 
were salient in your mind and in mine! example. 
Probably two, — the man and his enemy, — and these 
images were faint Images of blood, heart, violent 
rushing, pulse, quickening, and sight were either not 
revived at all or were passing shadowa Had any such 
images arisen, they would have hampered thought, re- 
tarding the logical process of judgment by irrelevant 
connections. The symbols had substituted relations for 
these values, — the logical relations of inclusion and ex- 
clusion which constitute judgment. You were not 
anxious to inform me respecting the qualities of blood, 
heart, pulse, etc., but only of a certain effect produced on 
one man by sight of another ; and this effect you ex- 
pressed in the physiological terms which came first to 
hand ; you might have expressed it equally well in very 
different psychological terms, — ^fierce anger seized the 
man's soul, rousing all his energies at the sight of his 
enemy,' when assuredly there would not have been pres- 
ent images of ^ anger,' ^seizing,' ^soul,' ^rousing,' and 
'energies.' These terms are symbols which stand for 
clusters of inures, and can at will be translated into 
images, just as algebraic letters stand for values which can 
be assigned. But for purposes of thought and calcula- 
tion such translation is unnecessary, is hampering ; all 
that is necessary is that the terms should occupy their 
proper logical position." * 

The other example is still more striking. '^ Suppose I 
read the phrase, ' The ship which carried I^elson was ap- 
propriately named the Victory ;' unless the ship itself is 

^Lewes's '^ Problems of Life and Mind/' Fourth Problem, pages 
474, 475. 



232 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

tl^e prominent interest, I have probably no image at all, 
or at least only a fiaiint and fleeting shadow of some vagae 
Another Outline. I do not picture a man-of-war, I do not 
e^'^^mpie- See the hull, masts, cordage, and cannon, though 
these, with the figure-head, fluttering flags, and pennons, 
may successfiQly emerge if I dwell on the ship. I perhaps 
do not see I^elson, or, at any rate, do not see his pale fewje, 
one eye, and one arm, but only some faint suggestion of a 
human form. The purpose of the phrase was not to raise 
images, but to communicate a fact respecting the name 
of the ship ; and my intelligence has been occupied with 
this purpose. I must, it is true, have understood each 
word, or, at any rate, each clause of the sentence ; but 
for this understanding it is not necessary that I should 
translate, nor even that I should be capable of trans- 
lating, each word into an image or cluster of images ; it is 
enough if I apprehend a series of logical relations. We 
all use occasional words with intelligent and intelligible 
propriety, the meaning of which as isolated terms we can- 
not translate. We read Shakespeare and Groethe without 
a suspicion of the many words which for us have no 
images. But if one of these words occurs in an un- 
familiar connection we are at once arrested, as we are if 
any familiar word is placed in an unfamiliar position. 
Suppose we come upon the sentence, *The ship which 
carried I^elson was named Victory; the ship which car- 
ried Napoleon across the desert was named J.A:6ar,'— we 
are at once arrested; the connection of ship and desert is 
unusual, and is seen, on reflection, to be contrary to expe- 
rience ; but when we learn that the camel is called the 
ship of the desert,' we recognize the new value assigned 
to the term, and the logical correctness of the phrase is 
thereby recognized. '' * 

* Lewes's ** Problems of Life and Mind," Fourth Problem, pages 
475-477. 



THOUGHT IN LISTENING AND READING. 233 

These examples, and others like them which Lewes 
gives, bring us fiace to face with the proposition that 
" much of our thinking is carried on by means of symbols 
without any images, which is the same thing as thinking 
being carried on by words without any meanings and with 
only the accompanying intuition of their logical rela- 
tions." Thus, after a century of exhortation against the 
blind use of words we are brought face to face with the 
question of using words in thinking without realizing the 
full meaning, an abuse of words for which reformers have 
shot their arrows at rote teaching from every possible 
point of view. What truth is there in the statement of 
Mr. Lewes t What can be his meaning t 

It must be admitted that men in mature life skim 
newspapers, magazines, and books, especially books of 
fiction and books of reference, without realizing in their 
minds the import of all the words upon which the 
eye falls. The aim may be to get the plot of the story 
or a fact for some specific use, or a hurried view of the 
news and current events of the last twenty-four hours. 
But this is not the kind of thinking which the teacher 
aims to beget in the minds of his pupils. Kor does it 
ever lead to a just appreciation of literature. 
All literature which appeals to the imagination ^* ^' 
cannot be read and enjoyed in that way. No one can 
rightly read a choice selection without thinking what 
was in the author's mind, reconstructing the images and 
scenes which were before his mental eye and imaging in 
following the movements depicted by his Ian- poetry. 
guage. Movement is more easily conceived than scenery, 
and abounds in the stories which are most popular among 
children. Judicious exercises will soon enable The correct 
the pupil to call up all kinds of imagery. In the pi»»i- 
Standard Fifth Eeader it is suggested that the pupils sit 
with closed eyes and close attention while the teacher 



234 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

or one of the pupils reads a paragraph or stanza. 
For illustration, Kate Putnam Osgood's poem, entitled 
*^ Driving Home the Cows," is selected. 

Out of the clover and blue-eyed grass 

He turned them into the river lane ; 
One after another he let them pass, 

Then listened the meadow bars agam. 

Under the willows and over the hill 
He patiently followed their sober pace ; 

The merry whistle for once was still, 

And something shadowed the sunny face. 

Only a boy ! and his father had said 

He never could let his youngest go ; 
Two already were lying dead 

Under the feet of the trampling foe. 

But after the evening's work was donje, 
And the frogs were loud in the meadow-swamp, 

Over his shoulder he slung his gun, 
And stealthily followed the foot-path damp ; 

Across the clover and through the wheat. 
With resolute heart and purpose grim ; 

Though the dew was on his hurrying feet 
And the blind bat's flitting startled him. 

Thrice since then had the lanes been white, 
And the orchard sweet with apple-bloom ; 

And now, when the cows came back at night, 
The feeble father drove them home. 

For news had come to the lonely farm 
That three were Ijdng where two had lain ; 

And the old man's tremulous, palsied arm 
CJould never lean on a son's again. 

The summer days grew cool and late : 
He went for the cows when the work was done ; 

But down the lane as he opened the gate 
He saw them coming, one by one : 



THOUGHT IN LISTENING AND READING. 235^ 

Brmdle, Ebony, Speckle, and Bess, jS^^ 

Shaking their horns in the evening wind ; 

Cropping the buttercups out of the grass ; 
But who was it following close behind? 

Loosely swung in the idle air 

An empty sleeve of army blue ; 
And worn and pale, from the crisping hair. 

Looked out a face that the father knew. 

The great tears sprang to their meeting eyes. 
For the heart must speak when the lips are dumb ; 

And under the silent evening skies 
Together they followed the cattle home. 

Who can fully appreciate these stanzas without pic- 
turing the landscape of clover, blue-eyed grass, meadow 
bars, river lane, cows moving homeward, and especially 
the boy with the shadow on his face, the two older 
brothers lying dead under the feet of the trampling foet 
The subsequent parts of the poem lend themselves to the 
activity of the imagination, to a play of sympathy for the 
fiather seemingly bereft of all his sons, until on a summer 
day cool and late he sees fluttering in the wind an empty 
sleeve of army blue, beneath a face that he knew, — a 
scene which, if constructed by the imagination, cannot 
help stirring the emotional life of the reader and giving 
him proper tones and inflections in oral reading while 
more fully realizing the price paid in war for the saving 
of the nation. Very much of our thinking does not turn 
on imagea or mental pictures. We do not 
primarily think justice, law, kindness, mercy thoughts 
mider the form of images, though by a second- *^® ^^^ 
ary process we can throw these ideas into con- 
crete examples and image them as occurring in life. 
Very many ideas cannot be made concrete in that way, 
as, for example, the ideas of infinity, eternity. Some- 
times an indistinct or faded image does duty for the idea 



236 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

of horses in general, but in such cases the image is repre- 
sentative of the idea> and should not be confounded witli 
the idea. Both are thoughts, but not all thoughts are 
ideas or images. Many thoughts are propositions and 
cannot be imaged at all. 

The images which go with words grow in fulness as 
one's experience enlarges. Take the word fire. The 
Puttiiig ^^^ id®^ ^3S formed from fire in the stove and 
content in the smithy. A fuller idea resulted from the 
into words, ^^j^^ ^^ ^ distant mountain on fire. Then a 
distant conflagration resulting in the loss of a block of 
town property gave the word still fuller content Finally, 
the destruction of the State Capitol, in which part of the 
manuscript of a book, other valuable papers and records 
were destroyed, and in which one or two friends almost 
lost their lives, gave a meaning to the word fire which it 
never had before. Without doubt it hampers the mind 
and impedes the logical processes of thought if the word 
invariably calls up the idea of these fires with the accom- 
panying emotions. 

We saw the value of the labor-saving devices intro- 
duced by the symbols and formulas of mathematics and 
other sciences. Analysts carry forward long 
^J^t trains of thought by means of symbols whose 
icsand meaning can be, but is not always, called up 
^'enco! ^^ ^^ successive links of the chain of reason- 
ing. In adding a column of figures, in solving 
an algebraic equation, in reading a work on higher math- 
ematics or logic, in thinking the formulas of chemistry, 
physics, astronomy, etc., and in dealing with objects, 
forces, and relations which have been accurately and 
definitely quantified, the thinking may be carried for- 
ward by the use of symbols which can be interpreted and 
applied whenever the occasion requires, but whose mean- 
ing is not always present to the mind. In reading of 



THOUGHT IN LISTENING AND READING. 237 

things which have not been quantified, the stream of 
thought often flows on without images, or mental pic- 
tures, or copies of sensations. !N^evertheless, the exami- 
nation of any school reader or book of selections from the 
best literature will show how our best writers and orators 
appeal to the imagination, and to what a large field the 
method of thinking in images or mental pictures is appli- 
cable for the purpose of securing due appreciation of 
good literature and proper expression in oral reading. 

The simplest thinking is the comparison of objects 
when these are present to the senses. It prevails largely 
in the handicrafts and in the ordinary duties of life. 
More difficult is the comparison of images or mental 
pictures of things when these are not present to the 
senses, but must be recalled by the memory. This think- 
ing is essential to the appreciation of poetry, to the vivid 
presentation of thought, and should not be neglected by 
those who wish to move the multitudes with tongue or 
I)en. *' Imaging," says Dryden, "is in itself the very 
height and life of poetry, which, by a kind of enthusiasm 
or extraordinary emotion of the soul, makes it seem to 
us that we behold those things which the poet paints." 
Higher, from the scientist's point of view, is the thinking 
in substitute symbols which stand for ideas definitely 
fixed or quantified. Higher still is the comparison of 
abstract and general ideas through expressive symbols, 
including their application to the problems of life 5 for 
this is the kind of thinking that characterizes the scientist 
and the philosopher, the engineer and the surgeon, the 
editor and the orator, and, in fact, all whose vocation 
has risen to the rank of a profession. But highest of 
all is the thinking which creates and invents, begetting 
progress in science and art, in literature and history, in 
government and civilization. 



XV 

THE STREAM OF THOUGHT IN WRITING, 
SPEAKING, AND ORAL READING 



239 



The highest joy is the freedom of the mind in the living play of 
all its powers. 

Schiller. 

The historian Niebuhr, speaking of the historian's vocation, re- 
marks that he who calls past ages into being enjoys a bliss analo- 
gous to that of creating. With still more truth may we say of that 
mind which is able, in the conscious awakening of all its powers, to 
give full and satisfactory utterance to its thick-coming thoughts, 
that it enjoys the joy of a creator. If there is one bright particu- 
lar hour in the life of the educated man, in the career of the 
scholar, it is that hour for which all other hours of student-life were 
made, — ^that hour in which he gives original and full expression to 
what has been slowly gendering within him. 

Shedd. 

Unless a man can link his written thoughts with the everlasting 
wants of men so that they shall draw from them as from wells, 
there is no more immortality to the thoughts and feelings of the 
soul than to the muscles and bones. 

Beecher. 



240 



XV 

THE STREAM OF THOUGHT IN WRITING, 
SPEAKING, AND ORAL READING 

Eventful, in his career is the day on which a young 
I>erson speaks in public for the iirst time. His hands and 
arms are in his way ; his lower limbs quake 5 Theflret 
his lips and throat feel dry and parched ; the speech, 
vocal organs refuse to obey his bidding; he expe- 
riences other discomforts which he cannot explain 
and which are due to embarrassment and nervousness. 
What is worst of all, he cannot tell what has gone 
wrong in his mind. If his speech was committed, the 
memory fails to recall some word or sentence that seems 
absolutely essential to the sequence of thought If he 
speaks extemporaneously, the stream of thought stops 
flowing, or turns back in eddies, or X)erhap8 spreads out 
over all the land instead of moving towards the proper 
goal. In fact, all these annoyances have their fontal 
source in the mind, in a play of emotions in which stage- 
fdght is the principal element. To this young man some 
trusted Mend should whisper, '^Take courage;" for if 
ever in his life a young man needs encouragement it is 
when he makes his first speech or preaches his first 
sermon. 

Public speakers are made, not bom. Native talent is 
helpful, but not all sufficient. Most of the ob- ^^^^^ 
stacles to success disappear as soon as one has speakers 
learned to think on his feet ; that is, to control "® ^^ 

' ' not bom. 

the stream of thought when facing an audience. 
There are, of course, exceptions to all rules. Some 

16 241 



242 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

young men x>os8e8S an amount of self-confidence which 
is proof against embarrassment. Such youth are some- 
Dangen of times gifted with a flow of words that is &tal to 
fluency, ultimate success. It enables them to fill time 
without previous preparation. Bautain describes a ^ ^ fatal 
&cility a thousand times worse than hesitation or than 
silence, which drowns thought in floods of words, or in a 
torrent of copiousness, sweeping away good earth and 
leaving behind sand and stones alone. Heaven keep ns 
from these interminable talkers, such as are often to be 
found in southern countries, who deluge you, relatively 
to anything and to nothing, with a shower of dissertation 
and a down-pouring of their eloquence. During nine- 
tenths of the time there is not one rational thought in the 
whole of this twaddle, carrying along in its course every 
kind of rubbish and platitude. The class of x)ersons 
who produce a speech so easily and who are ready at the 
shortest moment to extemporize a speech, a dissertation, 
or a homily, know not how to compose a tolerable sen- 
tence ] and I repeat that, with such exceptions as defy 
all rule, he who has not learned how to write will never 
know how to speak." * 

No one stands in greater need of the discipline derived 
from the use of the i^n than those who overflow with 
words and sentences. Their dearth of ideas can be reme- 
died in no other way. The sentence which escapes from 
the lips is fleeting and soon forgotten. The sentence in 
black and white, which stares you in the face from the 
written page, can be read and re-read until its lack of 
sense and its wealth of nonsense and absurdity grow too 
glaring to be endured. Paragraph after paragraph can 
thus be tested, condensed, and stuffed full of meaning. 
This discipline ultimately enables a fluent talker to speak 

* Bautftin'B ' Art of Extempore Speaking/' pages 68, 69. 



WRITING, SPEAKING, AND ORAL READING. 243 

with force and to the point, because it gradnally trans- 
forms his habits of thinking, deex)ening the stream of 
thought and enabling it to carry craft too weighty to be 
borne by a shallow stream. 

The person who is afflicted with hesitation and embar- 
rassment also stands in sore need of the discipline of 
writing. In the solitnde of the home one can Hesitating 
take time to find and fix the right word, to weave speakers. 
it into sentences that stand the test of grammar, logic, 
and rhetoric, and to arrange a line of thooght fix)m which 
everything irrelevant is excluded. Embarrassment van- 
ishes with the advent of the feeling that one has some- 
thing to say. The growth of language, which invariably 
accompanies the evolution and clarification of thought, 
corrects hesitation. Soon the hands drop to the side or 
obey the will in gesture, and the feeling of ease begins 
to color the delivery. Nothing more beneficial can 
happen to a young preacher than the call to preach the 
same discourse a number of times in succession, each 
time to a different audience. Eepetition will make him 
a master of the train of ideas, improving his phraseology, 
and deeping the stream of thought Who has not 
watched with delight the improvement in the presenta- 
tion of a lecture heard from the same lips half a dozen 
times in succession t The change for the better was due 
to the deepening, straightening, and improvement of the 
channel in which the stream of thought seems to flow. 

If a student several times each month during a college 
course writes out and fixes a line of argument for a 
debate, he can acquire the power to fix and 
retain the thoughts as fast as he writes. The 
habit of memorizing the words is, of course, pernicious, 
because it is apt to make him the slave of his manuscript, 
to destroy his freedom in meeting the blows of an antag- 
onist^ and to divest him of the glow of feeling and anima- 



244 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

tion which gives force to the delivery while the mind is 
engaged in the elaboration of the argument The sequence 
of ideas rather than of words should be fixed in the mind, 
very much as the student of Euclid fixes in his mind, 
not the words, but the ideas which constitute the chain 
of proof, This kind of practice gives a young speaker 
the sense of security without destroying his freedom in 
modifying the line of thought while standing upon his 
feet. 

Prom this point of view the folly of much criticism in 

teaching is very apparent The current of thought is fi-e- 

^^-. quently interrupted by drawing attention at the 

Criticisxn. 

wrong time to mistakes in grammar and errors 
of pronunciation. The proper time for such criticism is 
after the movement of thought has reached the goal ; and 
even then the critic should not call attention to too many 
defects at one time ; otherwise the effect will be to dis- 
courage and bewilder the pupil. 

The stream of thought is the most essential thing in 
writing, speaking, and oral reading. The management 
The of fiEM^e and hands and feet, the x>ostures of the 
thought, body, and the vocal utterance should, of course, 
not be neglected. The intelligent counsel of a good 
friend is needed to point out mannerisms and eccen- 
tricities. The practice prescribed by a wise teacher is 
helpful in pruning the delivery of defects and harmfol 
habits which are sure to grow where attention to the 
thought sinks the delivery into the subconscious realm. 
Nevertheless, the main thing in writing and speaking is 
the stream of thought. A profound truth was stated by 
the Kentucky backwoodsman, who said that he would 
have it in him to become as great an orator as Henry 
Clay, were it not that he found himself lacking in two 
things : Whenever a favorable opportunity for a great 
speech presented itself he never knew what to my nor how 



WRITING, SPEAKING, AND ORAL READING, 245 

to say it The how is more easily acquired than the what. 
Both should receive attention, from the kindergarten to 
the university. The getting of something to say is inven- 
tion. It is the one thing in which si)ecial teachers and 
special courses give least help. The power of invention 
is acquired by years of effort and discipline. Tributaries 
from many sources must pour into the stream of thought 
before it becomes fall, copious, and capable of carrying 
great thoughts, or of supplying the motive power for 
great undertakings. 

In writing nothing should be allowed to, interfere with 
the stream of thought. Some can write in the midst of 
noise. Others must seek silence and solitude. mn- 
Gifted men like Horace Greeley can writ§ in ^emnces. 
the cars, upon the knee, anywhere. Habit has much to 
do with the art of composing. In any event, the stream 
of thought must be kept fiowing. In so far as the rules 
of grammar, logic, rhetoric have become unconscious 
guiding principles, they do not interfere with the evolu- 
tion of thought. In so far as they absorb the attention 
and hinder the flow of thought, they should be cast to 
the winds during the first glow of writing. Better think 
of these during the process of rewriting, polishing, and 
correcting. 

So great a thinker and successful a writer as Charles 
Darwin makes the following suggestive statement con- 
cerning his own methods of composing : 

** There seems to be a sort of fatality in my mind, lead- 
ing me to put at first my statement or proposition in a 
wrong or awkward form. Formerly I used to ^^^ 
think about my sentences before wiiting them Darwin 
down ] but for several years I have found that ^'^"^p^*®^* 
it saves time to scribble in a vile hand whole pages as 
quickly as I possibly can, contracting half the words; 
and then correct deliberately. Sentences thus scribbled 



246 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

down are often better ones than I could have written 
deliberately.'' * 

No one should speak as he writes, nor should any one 
write as he speaks. Few men are satisfied with the 
stenographic report of a si>eech, exactly true to the lan- 
guage at the time of delivery. A reporter who cannot 
make a speech read better, without changing the line of 
thought, than if it were printed exactly as spoken is not 
a master of the art of reporting. Written discourse 
abounds in longer sentences, in more involved construc- 
tions, in forms of diction which please the eye, but are 
too cumbersome for the voice and the ear. The public 
speaker is prone to use short, simple sentences in which 
the subject of the sentence does not pass out of the mind 
before the predicate is reached. His style abounds in 
questions which arrest the attention of the hearer,* if 
necessary, he indulges in colloquial expressions to which 
the ears of the hearer are accustomed, thereby bringing 
himself nearer the common people. 

Upon a speech delivered in the British Parliament 
high praise was bestowed in the hearing of Mr. Fox. 
Pox'sopiii- ''Does it read wellf he inquired. "Yes, 

ioji- grandly,'' was the reply. "Then," said he, 
" it was not a good speech." It may be difficult to point 
out exactly wherein speaking differs from writing so far 
as the stream of thought is concerned ; yet one feels the 
Written difference. Austin Phelps shows the difference 
discourse, y^j using an extract from an essay on the " End 
of Gk)d in Creation :" 

' ' What was the final cause of creation t The transition 
from the unconditioned to the conditioned is incompre- 
hensible by the human faculties. What that transition 
is, and how it could take place, and how it became an 

* ** Autobiography,^' page 80. 



WRITING, SPEAKING, AND ORAL READING, 247 

actualized occurrence, it is confessed on all hands are 
absolutely incomprehensible enigmas. We cannot rea- 
sonably imagine, then, that, if we are thus ignorant of 
the nature and mode of this stupendous fact, we can 
nevertheless comprehend its primitive ground, can ex- 
plore its ultimate reasons, can define its final motive. 
Nor can we think to unveil the infinite soul at that 
moment when, according to our conceptions, the eternal 
miiforniity was interrupted and a new mode of being, 
absolutely unintelligible to us, was first introduced. We 
cannot think to grasp all the views which were present 
to that soul, extending from the unbeginning past to the 
unending future, and to feithom all its purx>OBes, and to 
analyze all its motives. If anywhere, we must here 
repel everything like dogmatic interpretation of the 
phenomena, and admit whatever is put forth only as 
conjectural in its nature, or, at all events, partial, and 
belonging far more to the surfiBice than to the interior of 
the subject.'' 

One can easily see how ill adapted to oral delivery 
these sentences are. Phelps throws the same leading 
thoughts and succession of thoughts into a form gju^pi^ 
adapted for public speaking : of spoken 

"Why did God create the universe! Orea- d^«»«™«- 
tion is incomprehensible to man. What is creation! 
How was it possible! How did it ever come to be! I 
cannot answer. Can you ! Every man of common sense 
confesses his ignorance here. But if we are ignorant of 
what creation is, and how it is, can we imagine that we 
xmderstand why it is! Shall we think to unveil the 
mind of God in the stupendous act! That moment 
when God said 'Let there be light' was a moment of 
which we can know nothing but that 'there was light.' 
Shall we think to see all that God saw! Can we look 
through the past without beginning, and the future with- 



248 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

out end, and £Eithom all His purposes and all His motiyes 1 
Can we, by searching, find out Godt If we must repel 
assertion an3rwliere, we must do so here. Whatever we 
may think, it is but little more than guess-work. At the 
best it can be but knowing in part The most we can 
know must be on the surfEtce. It cannot i>enetrate to the 
heart of the matter." * 

The plan of writing down a line of discussion helps to 
clarify the thought. Casting aside the manuscript as 
soon as the sequence of ideas is fixed in the mind eman- 
cipates the speaker from the written page. Several years 
Two kinds of practice develop two kinds of style, one 
of style, adapted for writing, the other for sx)eaking. 
After this stage of development is reached, it may be no 
longer necessary to formulate on paper every line of 
argument Nevertheless, the pen cannot be laid aside 
entirely without detriment to the quality of the thought 
and the effectiveness of oral discourse. 

Everything calculated to interfere with the stream of 
thought should, so far as possible, be eliminated from the 
act of composing. Some men find the pen an irksome 
drain upon their energy and vitality. Their thought 
moves faster than they can write. The employment of a 
Di tatdiur s^^^S^P^^'* sdds them in the work of com- 
posing. The danger against which they must 
guard is a growing dislike to the use of the pen, and a 
deterioration of their style resulting in the obliteration 
of the difference which distinguishes effective speaking 
from successful writing. 

There is a radical difference between a lecture and an 
oration. Public speaking which partakes of the nature 
of the lecture, aiming primarily at instruction or the 
communication of knowledge, may be assisted by ex- 

* '' Men and Books/' pages 221, 222. 



WRITING, SPEAKING, AND ORAL READING, 249 

periments, by maps, charts, and pictures upon the screen, 
by si)ecimens and models designed to throw light ui)on 
the theme under discussion. Public speaking ^^^ 
which partakes of the nature of oratory, its aim and 
being to move the will to action, is generally <>'***®^- 
limited in the appliances it can utilize, and in the way it 
must apx>eal to the hearer. It must not exhaust the 
attention of the hearer by consuming his time in the 
establishment of principles, and in showing, by lengthy 
details, how results are obtained. Far better is it to cite 
authorities, to quote their language if necessary, and to 
make the application to the case in hand. In referring 
to recognized standards, like a dictionary, a treatise on 
law, or the Sacred Scriptures, it is always best to quote 
the exact words. This is also more appropriate on the 
written page than a reproduction of the thought in in- 
ferior forms of statement. In public speaking, however, 
the original statement may be too involved, and a break- 
ing up into shorter, simpler sentences may aid the for- 
ward movement of the stream of thought. The first aim 
of Hie speaker is to be understood. If he fails to reach 
the understanding, he can neither persuade nor convince, 
nor spur the will to action. 

There is another limitation to the kind of public speak- 
ing which partakes of the nature of oratory. The idea 
which the speaker seeks to have realized in the vote, or 
verdict, or conduct of others, must be carried back to 
the necessary ideas of the hearer. The full discussion of 
this peculiarity in the stream of thought belongs to 
treatises on rhetoric. Such a discussion can be found in 
Theremin's Ehetoric, translated by Shedd. Suffice it to 
say that the recognition of this principle makes the 
speaker a more thoughtful man. It causes him to rely 
for the effect he seeks to produce upon solid and sterling 
qualities rather than showy rhetoric It tends to make 



250 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

the stream of thought flow deei>er, fuller, yet clearer and 
with more power. Any interference with the stream of 
thought while the speaker is before the audience may be 
disastrous. The crying of a child, or an outburst of 
feeling in the audience, or some other mishap may dis- 
concert his mind. Iiegouv6 tells how the world-renowned 
advocate, Berryer, lost a very good cause by unconsciously 
gj^j^jjjj^ ^ starting his speech in too high a key. "His 
too high temples soon felt the unusual fatigue of the 
* ^®y* larynx ; from the temples it passed to the brain ; 
the strain being too great, the brain gave way; the 
thought became confused, and the language disarranged 
and indistinct" He broke down in open court because 
he never thought of descending from the lofty perch on 
which his voice started at the beginning of his plea. 
Legouv6 claims, and the experience of many speakers 
confirms the claim, that the abuse of the high notes has 
not infrequently affected injuriously the orator's very 
flow of thought. 

Three generals made stump sx>eeches on a joint trip 
during the last Presidential campaign. One day the 
The three name of the candidate of the other great politi- 
generais. cal party was mentioned, when there was a per- 
fect storm of applause in the gallery. A second reference 
elicited similar applause, and the disconcerted general, 
who had bravely fsiced the enemy on the battle-field, took 
his seat. The next general, walking on a crutch, came 
forward, and requested that all who had been sent to 
disturb the meeting should rise. No one moved. He 
exclaimed, "There are some cowards here." Then he 
asked that all who had come to listen and learn should 
rise. Everybody rose. He exclaimed, " There are some 
liars here." Next he announced that any one attempting 
to disturb the meeting would be pitched out of doors, the 
general on the crutch declaring he would lead the attack. 



WRITING, SPEAKING, AND ORAL READING, 251 

Soon a man arose as if to ask a question. Whereupon a 
big burly policeman threw the fellow out, and there was 
no farther outside interference with the stream of thought 
in the mind of speaker or listeners. The man on the 
platform always has the advantage over disturbers in the 
andience, provided he is master of his faculties, full of 
resources, and quick at repartee. 

The schools of France have been quoted to show the 
uselessness of exercises in oral reading. As in other 
things, so in school matters, distance lends en- ^^^ 
chantment to the view. Legouv6, in his lectures schools of 
on the "Art of Beading,'' mentions with ap- F^nce. 
proval that in the great Eepublic of North America 
reading aloud is justly considered one of the very first 
elements of a child's education, whilst in France, read- 
ing aloud does not reach even the sorry dignity of a 
diverting art, but is regarded as a curiosity, a luxury, 
often something hardly better than a pretension.* This 
was written several decades ago, and may not be just to 
the French nation at this time. The value of oral read- 
ing depends upon the way in which it is done. If it 
amounts to no more than calling words and parrot-like 
imitation of the teacher's manner of reading, the exer- 
cise is a waste of time. The mastery of the The read- 
new words and of the thought embodied should ^^ lesson. 
precede the attempt to read a lesson aloud. The mastery 
of the words involves ability to recognize them at sight, 
to pronounce them with fluency and ease, and to spell 
them by letter and by sound. It implies both a knowl- 
edge of their meaning and ability to use them in a sen- 

* " In the name, then, of a sound condition of mind and body, 
and in the confident hope of obtaining both for France, I call on 
our people to imitate the people of the United States of North 
America by making the art of reading aloud the very comer-stone 
of public education.*' — ^Legouv^'s " Art of Reading,'' page 145. 



252 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

tenoe. An average series of readers has a vocabnlary of 
five thousand words. The meaning of all these words 
may be known at sight, but ability to use them by tongue 
or pen is quite another thing, ttie vocabulary of most 
persons being not much in excess of a thousand words. 
The thought can be mastered by an exercise in silent 
reading, followed by the oral and written reproduction 
of the lesson. The mastery of the thought is a condition 
of proper vocal utterance. 

There is a difference between acting and reading. The 
actor endeavors to speak and act after the exact manner 
Acting and of the character whom he impersonates. The 

re^d^- reader aims to suggest the thought instead of 
imitating the original actors. An actor will go through 
the motion of stabbing or shooting an enemy 5 the reader 
simply aims to suggest the thought of what was done. 
Exercises in breathing, gesture, tone, pitch, cadence, 
voice may be needed for the sake of correcting defects ; 
nevertheless, everything connected with oral reading 
' should turn on and culminate in the sti*eam of thought. 
If anything else is made the object of chief regard, the 
main purpose of oral reading is lost. It furnishes an 
excellent test by means of which the teacher can deter- 
mine whether the pupil understands wttat he reads or is 
merely calling words after the manner of a parrot. To 
correct the unnatural tones acquired in the school-room, 
the pupil is wisely exhorted to read as he would talk. 

j^g^^y^ In the effort to develop a style of reading ex- 
and actly like talking, some teachers ruin their 

talking, natural way of talking and reading. In con- 
versation, they talk as if they were trying to read. 
While reading, they seem to be trying to talk. The 
human voice is so made that it puts the quotation marks 
to selections recited from memory and to sentences read 
from a manuscript or book. As a rule, a person can 



WRITING, SPEAKING, AND ORAL READING. 253 

read best what he himself has written ; yet his voice 
tells whether his sentences and thoughts are framed and 
evolved at the moment of delivery, or taken from a 
manuscript prepared beforehand. As a matter of &ct, 
no one can read as he talks or speaks. A blindfolded 
listener could tell when Spurgeon was reading or speak- 
ing. The same was true of Charles Sumner, and of every 
other great speaker America has produced. 

To think the best thoughts of the best men is the 
privilege of him who can read. To plant these thoughts 
in other minds by reading aloud is a noble achievement. 
To give in sx>eech something from our own resources that 
others shall, treasure is nobler still, because it links our 
life with the creative workers of the world. But noblest 
of all is it to write what shall be read by our own and 
future generations, in our own and other lands, as a 
source of light and life, of uplift and enjoyment The 
worst punishment that can befall a human bebig is to be 
cut off from participation in the movement of the race 
towards greater well-being and perfection. One naturally 
desires to employ his gifts and powers for the benefit of 
mankind. The stream of thought determines what we 
shall accomplish. If others are to be benefited by our 
thinking, they must think our thoughts. The stream of 
our thought must carry ideas of interest and value to 
them, ideas they will care to get and keep. If Abiding 
our thinking is busy with things of transient thoughts. 
interest, transient will be our influence over others. If 
our thought is to abide, it must deal with verities of 
eternal moment to humanity, with the works of Him 
who made the heavens and the earth, with the truth of 
Him who is ''the same yesterday, to-day, and forever." 



XVI 
KINDS OF THINKING 



256 



" What we want is not the example of Democritos, who put out 
his eyes that, ceasing to read, he might think the more ; or the 
example of P3rthagora6, who devoted his evenings to solemn 
reflections on the events of the day. We want men and women of 
all-round activities who will set apart an hour for thought's own 
sake, and thus fulfil the exhortation of a wise man whose practice 
it was to ' sort his thoughts and label them.' '' 

T. 8. KNowiisoN. 

'' People read a great deal more than they used to do,— there is 
more to be read, — ^but they think less. The chief danger of to^lay 
is that of intellectual apathy. Life is so complex, the struggle for 
existence is so keen, and pleasures of various kinds so cheap and 
abundant, that men and women seem to live entirely on the surface 
of things. What we nefcd is a call to independent thought.'' 

Ism 



266 



XVI 

KINDS OF THINKING 

As was i)oiiited out in the first chapter, the word thinking 
has several meanings. One can hardly write or speak on 
education without using the word in more senses than 
one, and it is not always convenient to break the line of 
thought or discussion by indicating with a definition the 
meaning intended. This is a violation of Pascal's rule, 
that no terms in the least obscure or equivocal shall be 
used without defining them. Pascal possessed one of the 
most remarkable intellects the world has ever known. 
His style has been described as a garment of light. Few 
thinkers have attained, to an equal degree, clearness of 
expression and perfect grasp of the truth. Nowhere are 
these qualities more essential than in lectures and 
treatises on teaching. It is a misfortune that so usefal a 
word as thinking should ever be ambiguous. The 'ise of 
equivocal terms leads to misunderstandings in Equivocal 
vtheory and faults in practice. The advantage ^^^8, 
of technical terms lies in the fact that after they have 
been clearly defined they can always be used in the same 
sense. The disadvantage in the use of technical terms is 
that they convey no meaning to minds unfamiliar with the 
terminology of the specific science to which they belong. 
Hence the best thinkers cannot escape the necessity of 
employing words in current use to convey their thoughts. 
As soon as words pass into common parlance they acquire 
a variety of meanings and of shades of meaning. The 

17 267 



258 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

thonght of a people is always more or less in advance of 
their vocabulary ; the same word must be used in several 
meanings, because no other term equally simple and con- 
venient can serve as a substitute. No one. for instance, 
can write or speak in the English language without using 
the word is in both its figurative and its literal sense. 
The connection must show what signification is intended. 
The term The Same remark applies to the word thinking. 
oiinking. The Connection must show whether it is used in 
the colloquial sense of guessing, or in the logical sense of a 
comparison of two ideas through their relation to a third, 
or in the broader sense of imaging, reflecting, and react- 
ing upon what one reads or hears, or in a still broader 
s^nse, to designate any form of mental activity. Since 
the popular mind employs the word as a general term to 
cover the entire intellectual life, it is convenient to specify 
Kinds of kiuds of thinking by the use of adjectives like 
thinking, independent, loose, continuous, oi^smic, tech- 
nical, scientific, and other qualifying phrases. Inasmuch 
as these distinctions are made for the purpose Of char- 
acterizing differences observed in the thought-processes 
of. the maturer life for which our pupils are to be trained, 
it is helpful to glance at them for the purpose of seeing 
the bearing of what we do at school upon habits of 
thought beyond the school. 

What is meant by an independent thinker t Evidently 
, one who is not indebted to others for the inferences 
Theinde- which he draws or the conclusions at which 
pendent he arrives. Many practices at school are sub- 
thinker. y^pgjy^ ^f habits of independent thinking. The 
assignment of lessons of such length and difficulty that 
the weaker pupils must rely upon their stronger class- 
mates for help, or resort to ^^ coaches, keys, and ponies'' 
for assistance, makes them helpless instead of self-reliant, 
and cultivates the memory at the expense of the under- 



KINDS OF THINKING, 259 

standing. The lessons should be graded so as to beget 
the sense of mastery. Every difficulty that is overcome 
by a pupil's own efforts tends to develop in him an am- 
bition to conquer other difficulties. Few, if any, joys can 
be compared with the ecstatic joy of victory. Moreover, 
it should be the aim of the teacher to beget in the pupil 
a love of truth more potent and profound than reverence 
V for a favorite authority. On the contrary, the feeling of 
independence and the desire of distinction by differing 
from other people may grow into a passion. This seldom 
does much harm in the case of an editor or a professor. 
If you give either of them leave to criticise and to print, 
he is well satisfied. If he is elected to a board of man- 
agers or the national assembly, his critical faculty and his 
fondness for finding fault and thinking differently from 
other people may make him a hinderance to the leaders, 
who must get things done, or cause him to stand apart, 
like Bwald, in the Grerman Eeichstag, as a one-man 
party, whose views must be ignored on all questions re- 
quiring prompt action or immediate decision. To coun- 
teract this tendency in a youth of strong personality, it 
is difficult to devise anything better than the moulding 
supremacy of class-spirit, the chastening influence of a 
a contest in the literary society, and the relentless lessons 
which a boy gets on the play-ground when he will not 
play because the game does not go his way. Indepen- 
dence of thought in the quest of truth, on the one hand, 
and concert of action for the public good, on the other, 
are two of the most useful lessons to be learned at school. 
At this point there is room for a kind of child-study 
apart from a syllabus of set questions, and leading to re- 
sults which cannot be tabulated in statistics or averages. 
The average in such cases is untrue as a guide, and may 
be utterly subversive of correct habits of thinking, or 
the correct method of depiing with the individual. To 



260 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

give enongh optional or specific work for the brightest, 
and not too much general or required work for the 
slowest, is an ideal hard to realize in the assignment of 
work, and yet of supreme importance in the endeavor to 
develop habits of independent thinking. 

There is great need for independent thinking under a 
system of popular government, esi)ecially on the part of 

indepen- thosc who cxercisc the elective franchise. In 
dent think- the modcm caucus or convention one man 

IS^^M often does the thinking for the rest '^ K he is 

govern- the man whom I follow, I call him my leader. 

ment. j£ j^^ |g ^^^ j^^j^ whom you follow, I call him 
your boss.'' When the leader or boss is not suflSiciently 
sure of his ability to bind the others by his orders, those 
who have a following are invited to a conference, at 
which a line of action is agreed upon to relieve the mul- 
titudes of the trouble of thinking. A delegate who was 
giving very vociferous vent to his feelings was rebuked 
by a colleague, saying, ^* Just think where you are.'' He 
replied with more emphasis than elegance, '^I was not 
brought here to think, but to shout." Independent 
thinking is as hard work as the average man cares to do. 
He craves a guide, an authority to relieve him of the 
trouble of thinking for himself. Outside of their par- 
ticular vocation or profession it is absolutely necessary 
at times for the strongest intellects to accept the conclu- 
sions of other thinkers. The man who has been success- 
ful at making money, and who finds that his thinking in 
financial matters is trustworthy, often makes himself 
obnoxious by assuming that his opinions and conclusions 
should be accorded equal weight in every other sphere 
of human activity. There is no better place to teach the 
individual his limitations without destroying his inde- 
pendence as a thinker than the atmosphere of a great 
university. 



KINDS OF THINKING. 261 

The dependent thinker is aptly described by a writer 
in Leisure Sours in the following language : 

*'It is sometimes amusing to hear a man of this order 
coming out strongly with opinions which he would have 
you believe are thoroughly independent and Thede- 
original; but which you can trace directly to pendent 
the source from which he got them. You could *w^^e>'- 
indicate those sources if it were not uncivil to do so, very 
much as a shrewd but not very well-behaved old gentle- 
man is said to have indicated at church, in a tone suffi- 
ciently loud to be heard by the clergyman and the con- 
gr^^tion, too, — which was especially galling, — the 
authors to whom the said clergyman had been indebted 
for his sermon, 'That^s Sherlock ; that's Tillotson ; that's 
Jeremy Taylor.' ^I tell you what, fellow, if you don't 
hold your tongue, I'll have vou turned out of church.' 
'That's his own.'" 

The men who must depend upon others to do their 
thinking for them deserve pity and commiseration. The 
bureaus which thrive by furnishing essays and orations 
for commencements, sermons for special occasions, and 
even for the regularly recurring Sunday services, show 
how often our schools make their pupils dependent 
instead of self-reliant. On being cast upon the sea of 
life, their minds resemble a craft which has lost its rud- 
der ; they drift with wind and tide, uncertain where they 
shall land. Their thinking is not grounded on first prin- 
ciples ; hence their minds reflect transient views on every 
question. The strong personality in the sunlight of whose 
influence they hapi)ened last to bask moulds their opinions 
and directs their intellectual life until they move into the 
sphere of new influences, constantly resembling those 
whom Eandolph of Eoanoke stigmatized as dough-faces 
because their votes were under the control of party leaders 
and were cast regardless of their convictions of right 



262 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

The men whom the world reveres as great thinkers 
have been distingaished by their ability to give eontinn- 
continuous ous thought to whatever engaged their serious 
thought, attention. Newton claimed that he made his 
discoveries by always thinking about them. His biogra- 
phers relate how he would for hours remain seated upon 
his bed, half dressed, absorbed in thought, forgetful of 
his surroundings. Stories of the absent-mindedness of 
Socrates, Sydney Smith, Keander, Edison, and many 
others who attained eminence as philosophers, authors, 
or inventors, are interesting indeed, but they throw no 
light upon the way in which these men acquired their 
marvellous powers 5 they merely show a capacity for fo- 
cussing all the energies of the soul upon one point to the 
exclusion of sense impressions from without. It is very 
certain that men who excel in any line of work acquire 
habits of concentrated and continuous thought in one 
direction. Very diflferent from these are the mental 
habits of the boy and the average man. A writer in 
GomhiU Magazine describes their intellectual activity as 
follows : 

''The normal mental locomotion of even well-educated 
men and women (save under the spur of exceptional 
stimulus) is neither the flight of an eagle in the sky, 
nor the trot of a horse upon the road, but may better 
be compared to the lounge of a truant school-boy in 
a shady lane, now dawdling passively, now taking a 
hop-skip-jump, now stopping to pick blackberries, and. 
now turning to right or left to catch a butterfly, 
climb a tree, or make dick-duck-drake on a pond ; going 
nowhere in particular, and only once in a mile or so 
proceeding six steps in an orderly and philosophical 
manner.'^ 

The thoughts of some men resemble mosaic work. 
Each part is beautiful in itself, but has no inner connec- 



KINDS OF THINKING, 263 

tion with those next to it. Men of this class arc called 
loose thinkers ; it is always difficult to retain what Hiey 
say. The thinking of a totally opposite class of men re- 
sembles the growth of an organism. They start Loose 
from a germinal idea, which, like seed sown thinkers. 
into good soil, begins to grow, throwing out parts which 
have inward connection and which together constitute an 
organic unity. In a machine any part can be replaced 
by another. In the organism no such substitution is pos- 
sible. For each organ bears a life relation to the whole, 
and if it is wanting the unity of the organism is destroyed. 
Organic thinking gives the hearer the feeling that the 
several parts and inferences of a discourse are organic 
evolved from his inner consciousness. Having t*^»iJ^^- 
had the germ-idea in his mind, he feels as if he had held 
all it involves; the speaker supplied the conditions of 
development as the sun supplies warmth for vegetable 
growth. The effect of such thinking is irresistible. The 
branches of study which thus grow out of a fundamental 
idea, and show the inner relation between the subjects 
not as a mere sequence, but as a living organic relation, 
have an educative value which cannot be too highly 
prized. The organic thinker, if he makes himself under- 
stood, has the audience on his side ; and his cogency can 
seldom be refuted except by showing either that his 
germinal idea is wrong or that his conclusions have no 
connection with his premises. 

Dr. Harris has drawn attention to three stages of 
thinking. He claims that in the first st^ge things are 
regarded as the essential elements of all being, ^^^s on 
that in the second the mind discovers relations, stages of 
— truly essential , relations, — and that in the *^*'*^^* 
third stage the mind thinks the self-related. ** Self- 
relation is the category of the reason, just as relativity 
is the category of the understanding, or non-relativity 



264 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

(atomism) the category of sense-perception." Theoreti- 
cally this distinction is important as giving us a rational 
basis for the knowledge of Gk)d as revealed to man. 
Practically, every child thinks the idea of Grod. Where 
the study of science or philosophy leads to atheism, the 
wish is always father to the thought. 

Clifford has made a distinction between technical and 

scientific thinking. The former enables one to do with 

skill and accuracy what has been done hereto- 

^and* fore. The latter partakes of the nature of 

sdentiflc prophccy or prediction. He claims that sd- 

'*^*''^^*^' entific as well as merely technical thought make 

use of exx>erience to direct human action, but that while 

technical thought or skill enables a man to deal with the 

same circumstances he has met before, scientific thought 

enables him to deal with circumstances different from any 

he has met before. In his opinion, scientific thought is 

human progress itself. An example or two can best 

be given in his own language. 

" If you make a dot on a piece of paper, and then hold 
a piece of Iceland spar over it, you will see not one dot, 
but two. A mineralogist, by measuring the angles of a 
crystal, can tell you whether or not it possesses this 
proi)erty without looking through it He requires no 
scientific thought to do that. But Sir Bowan Hamilton, 
the late Astronomer Eoyal of Ireland, knowing these 
facets, and also the explanation of them which Fresnel 
had given, thought about the subject, and predicted 
that by looking through certain crystals in a particular 
direction we should see not two dots, but a continuous 
circle. Mr. Lloyd made the experiment and saw the 
circle, a result which had never been even suspected. 
This has always been considered one of the most signal 
instances of scientific thought in the domain of physics. 
It is most distinctly an application of experience gained 



KINDS OF THINKING. 265 

UDder certain circumstances to entirely different circum- 
stances."* 

Clifford compares two well-known achievements in the 
domain of astronomy which help to set the distinction 
between technical and scientific thought in a still clearer 
light : 

" Ancient astronomers observed that the relative mo- 
tions of the sun and moon recurred all over again in 
the same order every nineteen years. They were thus 
enabled to predict the time at which eclipses would take 
place. A calculator at one of our great observatories 
can do a great deal more than this. Like them, he makes 
use of past experience to predict the future; but he 
knows of a great number of other cycles besides the one 
of nineteen years, and takes account of all of them ; and 
he can tell about the solar eclipse of six years hence, 
exactly when it will be visible, and how much of the 
sun's surface will be covered at each place, and to a 
second at what time of the day it will begin and finish 
there. This prediction involves technical skill of the 
highest order, but it does not involve scientific thought, 
as any astronomer will tell you. By such calculations 
the place of the planet Uranus at different times of the 
year had been predicted and set down. The predictions 
were not fulfilled. Then arose Adams, and from the 
errors in the prediction he calculated the place of an 
entirely new planet that had never yet been (inspected ; 
and you all know how the new planet was actually found 
in that place. Now this prediction does involve sci- 
entific thought, as any one who has studied it will tell 
you. Here, then, are two cases of thought about the 
same subject, both predicting events by the application 



♦ Clifford's " Essays," page 88. 



THimcma and learning to think. 

of previous experience, yet we say one is technical and 
the other scientific/' * 

The forgoing distinction may be valuable in the train- 
ing of university students whose career is to be that of 
original research and discovery, but it has very little 
value for teachers in schools of lower grade. For ordi- 
scienceas iM^ry purposcs, scicncc is the knowledge of 
knowledge things in their causes and relations. If the 
their wmseg tcacher b^cts the habit of asking why, and 
andreUr makes the pupils dissatisfied with simply 
**"** knowing the how and the what, he has gone far 
towards making them thinkers in the scientific sense of 
the word. 

How shall the knowledge of things in their causes and 
relations be attained Y The mind first thinks things as 
isolated units apart from and without reference to other 
things. Under the impulse to know it resolves the 
thing into its elements or constituent parts, and 
then puts them together in a more complete idea 
of each thing as a whole. The boy whose curiosity 
impels him to take apart a watch or clock is follow- 
ing the bent of the mind to proceed analytically. 
If he does not try to put the pieces together, so 
that the reconstructed whole will keep time as before. 



* Clifford's ' * Essays, ' ' page 87. Thus the movements of Sinus led 
astronomers (Peters and Auwers) to infer the existence of a satel- 
lite, which was subsequently discovered by Alvan Clark & Son 
through the eighteen-inch glass which they were completing for 
the Chicago Observatory. Similarly, Professor Wright, of Oberlin, 
carefully studied the Trenton deposits and their relations to the 
terrace and gravel deposits to the westward, and predicted that 
similar paleolithic implements would be found in Ohio. Twx) years 
afterwards Dr. Mertz found, eight feet below the surface, a true 
paleolith of black flint at Madison ville, in the Little Miami Valley. 
Other instances of scientific prediction will occur to the reader. 



KINDS OF THINKING, 267 

he needs stimulus in the direction of synthetic thinking. 
Soon his interest in time-pieces leads him to detect simi- 
larities between American watches and those made in 
Switzerland, and he learns to classify time-pieces, t<o see 
a multitude of details and peculiarities at a glance, one 
characteristic or i)eculiarity bringing to his mind the 
distinctive parts and construction of every watch in a 
given class. From the way in which a given watch keeps 
time, he draws inferences in regard to the entire class. 
This is inductive thinking. From the conclusions he has 
framed, he makes up his mind as to the new watch which 
the jeweller offers him for sale. He is now thinking 
deductively. 

From thinking things as units, the mind passes to 
thinking the relations of things. The adaptation of 
means to ends in play, in ministering to bodily wants, 
occupies the mind in very early stages of thinking. The 
gifts of the kindergarten appeal to this tendency in the 
mind, and help to develop it into habit and faculty. De- 
sign and its execution, means and end, the tool and its use, 
the raw material and the purpose for which it is to be 
used, thought-material and the essay in which it is to be 
formulated,— these are so many ways of thinking things 
or ideas in their relations. Not only may a relation be- 
come a distinct object of thought, but relations between 
relations, classes of relations, — for instance, in simple 
and compound proportion, — can thus be made to stand 
apart before the mind as distinct objects of thought. The 
most important of all these relations is that of cause and 
effect. How things come to be, their origin and develop- 
ment, the forces that make them what they are, are the 
questions of profound and abiding interest to the scien- 
tific mind. Laws are often spoken of as if they were 
causes. A law is a generalized statement of an invaria- 
ble sequence of things or motions of things. We some- 



^' 



268 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

times personify these sequences, and speak of them as 
if they were forces in nature. The laws are personified, 
as if they were conscious beings demanding 
between obediencc, and inflicting punishment for dis- 
lawiand obedience. The consciousness of the personi- 
*^"*^' fication is lost, and then along with spelling 
nature with a capital letter, we fall into the mistake of 
making laws stand for the Maker and Creator of all 
things. Furthermore, it is very Important to distinguish 
the ground of knowledge from causes that are operative 
in the world outside of mind. The rain of last night 
caused the streets to be muddy ; but the condition of the 
streets, an effect of rainfall, may be the ground of our 
knowledge that it must have rained last night. The fEu;t 
that the earth is flattened at the poles, or, in other 
words, that its curvature is less at the poles than at the 
equator, explains the fact that degrees of latitude get 
longer as we approach the poles. The former is the 
cause, the latter is an effect. But the mind drew the 
former as an inference from the determination of degrees 
of latitude by actual measurement. The effect became 
the ground of knowledge. Frequently the cause is 
known or inferred from its effect. That which is causal 
in the world of mind is effect in the world outside of 
mind 5 and that which is effect in nature becomes the 
ground of knowledge in the processes of thought. From 
this point as vantage-ground, we spy the land in which 
thinking becomes knowing. 



XVII 

THINKING AND KNOWING 



x» 



When a man's knowledge is not in order, the more of it he has 
the greater will be his oonfosion of thought. When the focts are 
not organized into ^icolty, the greater the mass of them the more 
will the mind stagger along under its burden, hampered instead of 
helped by its acquisitions. 

H. Spencer. 

That knowledge cannot be gained without more or less of correct 
and prolonged thinking is a practical maxim which no one would 
be found to dispute. But that there is much knowledge which does 
not come by mere thinking is a maxim scarcely more to be held in 
doubt. Thinking is, then, universally recognized as an important 
and even necessary part of knowing ; but it is not the whole of 
knowing. Or, in other words, one must make use of one's facul- 
ties of thought as an indispensable means to cognition ; but there 
are other means which must also be employed, since it is not by 
thought alone* that the human mind attains cognition. 

Ladd's **PHiiiOsoFHY OF Knowledqe,'' page 130. 



270 



XVII 
THINKING AND KNOWING 

One morning a teacher was awakened by a noise, the 
like of which he had never heard and hopes never to 
hear again. It was unlike everything in his former ex- 
perience. Soon he began to distinguish the hissing of 
steam and the moaning of men, but the cause was still a 
mystery. Later, he learned that the blast furnace in the 
neighborhood had exploded, and that several men were 
killed and others had been seriously injured by the ex- 
plosion. 

The cause of the noise could not be inferred, because 
there was nothing in his former exi)erience with which it 
could be compared. The escaping steam and i^j^rpretar 
the voices of the suffering workmen were recog- tion of 
nized because they could be interpreted in the Bens^im- 
light of what he had seen and heard before. 
In order that any one may derive definite knowledge 
from sense-impressions, there must be something in past 
experience to give meaning to the new experience. 

Observation that issues in knowing is coupled with a 
process of thought in which the new i)erception is linked 
to the ideas which the mind brings to the perception. 
In other words, observation always involves the element 
of thinking ; without thinking, sense-impressions cannot 
give us knowledge. 

Knowing is impossible without thinking, and yet not 
all thinking gives rise to knowing. What is the relation 
between the two t 

271 



272 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

Knowledge has been defined as firm belief in what is 
true on sufficient ground. The explanation of this defi- 
yif^^^ nition which Locke gives is well known to 
knowi- every student of philosophy. "K any one is 
®^®^ in dovbt respecting one of Euclid's demonstra- 
tions, he cannot be said to know the proposition proved 
by it ; if again he is fully convinced of anything that is 
not true, he is mistaken in supposing himself to know 
it; lastly, if two persons are each fvUy confidenty one 
that the moon is inhabited, and the other that it is not 
(though one of these opinions must be true), neither of 
them could properly bo said to know the truth, since he 
cannot have sufficient ^oof of it" * 

The foregoing definition consists of three parts, — ^1, 
firm belief ; 2, in what is true ; 3, on sufficient ground. 
In common -psLrlsbUcej belief is distinguished 
from knowledge, the latter implying a higher 
degree of assurance than the former. In some treatises 
on psychology belief denotes all forms of assent, including 
the highest possible certainty and conviction. The ex- 
pression firm belief excludes the element of doubt fix)m 
knowledge. 

Truth, according to the etymology of the word, signi- 
fies that which the mind trows or believes to be fact or 
reality. It has its source in Grod, whilst knowl- 
edge proceeds from man. To be true, a propo- 
sition must be in exact accordance with what is or has 
been or shall be. Truth exists apart from the cognitions 
of the human mind. It would continue to exist if the 
mind of man were blotted out of existence, and there 
was truth long before the intelligence of man was called 
into being. The aim of thinking is to find out and lay 
hold of the truth. Thinking in which truth and error 

* ** Essay on the Human Understanding," Book IV., Chapter I. 



THINKING AND KNOWING. 273 

are mixed may have value as partial knowledge and as a 
stepping-stone to fuller knowledge. Knowledge becomes 
foil and complete only in so far as it contains the truth, 
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 

Full knowledge implies a basis upon which it may rest 
There may be sufficient ground for the firm belief which 
constitutes the essence of knowledge even when The ground 
the truth cognized is incapable of full and com- of knowi- 
plete demonstration. ®^®* 

It is natural for a child to believe. The statements of 
others are accepted as true without question, so long as 
the child has not been deceived by others. Hence many 
teachers have assumed that their chief function is to ask 
the reason why^ so that belief in what is true The reason 
may be based upon sufficient ground, and that ^^y- 
nothing shall be accepted as true until it is proved. 
This was one of the erroneous views under which Pesta- 
lozzi labored. He justified the undue attention paid to 
mathematics in his school on the ground that he wished 
his pupils to believe nothing which cannot be demon- 
strated as clearly as two and two make four. Where- 
upon P6re Girard replied, ^^In that case, if I had thirty 
sons I would not intrust one of them to you 5 for it would 
be impossible for you to demonstrate to him, as you can 
that two and two make four, that I am his father and that 
I have a right to his obedience.'' * 

The progress of a pupil may be hindered by too much 
emphasis upon the ground of knowledge. Tl^e human 
mind cannot make an exhaustive study of very Exhaustive 
many things. Exhaustion is a term applied by ^*^^y- 
logicians to a method of proof in which ^*all the argu- 
ments tending to an opposite conclusion are brought for- 



* Compayre's " History of Pedagogy, '* I)age 437, American trans* 
lation. 

18 



274 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

ward, discussed, and proved untenable or absurd, thus 
leaving the original proposition established by the exclu- 
sion of every alternate." Speaking positively, we may 
say that exhaustive study of a subject explores it in all 
its bearings and relations as well as in its nature and 
essence. In every subject the known is bounded by the 
unknown ; new methods of preparation and investigation 
constantly reveal novelties in whole classes of objects 
which it was supposed had been studied exhaustively. 
The specialist seeks to know all that has been brought to 
light in his field of research, and to push out the limits 
of knowledge beyond the goal reached by his predeces- 
sors. The thoroughness of the sx>ecialist is not required 
in elementary instruction. The writer knows of a teacher 
who for an entire term kept a class of boys at work ux>on 
highest common factor and least common multiple on the 
plea that they did not thoroughly understand these sub- 
jects. No better plan of disgusting boys with arithmetic 
and algebra could have been devised. Thorough knowl- 
edge of these two subjects involves reasoning and demon- 
strations more difficult to grasp than half the theorems 
in Euclid. Instead of aiming at exhaustive treatment, 
the true teacher is satisfied with knowledge adequate for 
the subsequent work of the course. If the pupil has 
reached the stage where he can appreciate the reason 
why, it may be (though it is not always) wise to raise 
this question, and to insist on a comprehension of the 
proof. Very often the mind has enough to do in trying 
Theques- to SCO how ; the qucstiou why then interferes 
tion how. ^itii ^Q mastery of the mechanical operations. 
Let any adult take up a system of arithmetic with which 
he is unfamiliar, say the arithmetic based on counting 
by fives, or by twelves, or by thirties (each of the last 
two, mathematically speaking, better than the arithmetic 
based on tens), he will soon find it is work enough at 



THINKING AND KNOWING, 275 

first for his intellect to perform the operations of adding, 
subtracting, multiplying, and dividing without reference 
to the philosophic explanations which exhaustive study 
would require at every step in the operations. 

Descartes applied several of the technical terms of 
optics to the science of mind, and in this he has been 
followed by Locke, Leibnitz, and others. An object seen 
at a great distance or in insufficient light looks obscure ; 
as the eye approaches, or as the dawn increases, the 
object, as a whole, becomes clear enough to be distin- 
guished from other objects, although its constituent 
parts are still confused. Increasing light or a nearer 
approach finally enables us to discern the parts, and the 
vision of the object grows distinct. Clear vision occurs 
where the object, as a whole, can be recognized ; distinct 
vision occurs when the parts of the object seen can be 
recognized. In like manner ideas are said to be clear as 
distinguished from obscure, when they are dis- when 
cemed in outline ; they are distinct (opposed to knowledge 
indistinct or confused) when they are discerned when^i- 
in their elements or constituent parts. Distinct tinct. 
mental vision requires analytic and synthetic thinking. 

Of many objects the mind needs only clear knowledge 
for ordinary purposes. One may distinguish two brothers 
by the total impression of each which he carries in his 
mind, and yet be totally unable to tell any specific marks 
by which he knows the one from the other. The painter, 
on the other hand, cannot be satisfied with this total im- 
pression ; he studies the individual features until he has 
a distinct impression of their likenesses and differences. 

Of the map of one's own country it pays to know the 
States and Territorial divisions. Of one's State, a knowl- 
edge of the counties, and of one's county, a knowledge of 
the townships may be helpful. For specific vocations 
more minute knowledge may be desirable. Each indi- 



276 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

vidua, mind can well afford to stop with a measure of 
geographical knowledge that is adequate for the duties 
of his vocation and the purjioses of his reading of books 
and newspax>ers. 

Very little of our knowledge of geography is based 
upon experience ; most of it rests upon testimony. The 
eye at a glance may t<ake in the outlines of an island of 
the Susquehanna river. The fact that Great Britain is 
an island rests upon the testimony of maps ; our belief is 
based upon what we have always heard and read, and is 
further strengthened by the absence of testimony to the 
contrary. If the fact had ever been questioned^ the mind 
might hold its judgment in suspense until sufficient 
ground was found to warrant a conclusion. 

When the knowledge which a pupil has is to be deep- 
ened or made more distinct a series of well-chosen ques- 
vaiueof tions may beget the required thinking. For 
questions, instance, let us take the case of a pupil who has 
reached the stage where his knowledge of the proi)ertie8 
of the parts of speech should be made more complete. 
Let the teacher ask for the difference between a pencil 
and a part of speech, between a noun and a name, be- 
tween gender and sex, between number in grammar and 
number in arithmetic, between person in grammar and a 
person like the President of the United States, between 
case in grammar and a case in division of fractions, be- 
tween tense and time, between mode and manner; between 
action and a verb, between the object of an action and the 
object of a verb. Comparison will soon show the inaccu- 
racy of the statement that the direct object of an action 
is in the accusative case ; and the learner will see that 
case is a property of nouns, not of objects, and cannot be 
predicated of the object of an action, but of the vowd 
which denotes the object of the action, which word may 
be either in the nominative or the accusative case as the 



THINKING AND KNOWING. 277 

verb is either in the passive or active voice. Comparison 
will lead the pupil to see clearly that gender is a prop- 
erty of nouns, whereas sex or the absence of sex is predi- 
cated of that for which nouns stand. Comparison will 
serve to bring out the distinction between number in 
grammar as a property of nouns indicating one or more 
than one, and numbers in arithmetic, of which there are 
as many as there are units or collections of units in the 
universe. Thinking by comparison will lead to the de- 
tection of similarities and differences, to discrimination, 
combination, and generalization, and through these to 
more distinct and more adequate knowledge. 

Questions which draw attention to likenesses and differ- 
ences, to causal relations and logical sequences, stimulate 
analysis and comparison ; the resulting judgments clarify 
the stream of thought and push the boundary of knowl- 
edge into the regions of the hitherto unknown. 

The greatest minds when working under the influence 
of a false theory fail to arrive at truth. Socrates rejected 
the view of Anaxagoras that the sun is a fire. Theory, 
because we can Jook at a fire, but not at the true and 
sun, because plants grow by sunshine and are **^* 
killed by fire, and because a stone heated in fire is not 
luminous, but soon cools, whereas the sun always remains 
equally hot and luminous. Newton did more than all 
other thinkers combined to make astronomy a science ; his 
discoveries in physics and mathematics rank him among 
the greatest investigators the world has thus far known ; 
yet he spent many nights trying to find the method by 
which the baser metals could be transmuted into silver 
and gold j his researches as an alchemist led to nothing, 
because he was working under the spell of a false theory.* 

* ** There can be no doubt that Newton was an alchemist, and 
that he often labored night and day at alchemical experiments. 
But in trying to discover the secret by which gross metals might be 



278 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

Faraday acknowledged that he was often comx>elled to 
give up his preconceived notions, and in some cases his 
„ , ^ , failures are almost as instructive as his discov- 

ScientdstB. 

eries. It was characteristic of him to hold to 
his theories until he proved them either true or false, 
and he was ever ready to reject any hypothesis as soon as 
he found it inconsistent with the laws of nature. Kewton 
was willing to suspend judgment for years upon his 
theory of gravitation, until more accurate measurements 
of the earth's size and the moon's distance showed his 
theory and calculations to be right. Socrates advised 
his followers to quit the study of astronomy, probably 
because he felt that in his time the data were not 
sufficient to warrant definite conclusions. Hosts of in- 
stances can be cited showing that the thinking of the 
strongest intellects does not issue in knowing when it is 
based upon or biassed by a wrong working hypothesis. 
And yet it must be confessed that wrong hypotheses may 
lead to valuable negative results, as in the case of Kep- 
ler's investigations, each exploded theory making room 
for the construction of a theory more in accordance with 
the facts. The superiority of men of genius lies in their 
love of truth and fidelity to fact ; in the facility with 
which they construct theories to account for observed 
phenomena ; in the patience with which they test theory 
by fact, and in the readiness with which they reject 

rendered noble his lofty powers of deductive investigation were 
wholly useless. Deprived of all guiding clues, his experiments 
were like those of all the alchemists, purely haphazard and tenta- 
tive. While his hypothetical and deductive investigations have 
given us a true system of the universe, and opened the way for 
almost all the great branches of natural philosophy, the whole 
results of his tentative experiments are comprehended in a few 
happy guesses, given in his celebrated * Queries.' " — Jevons's 
"Principles of Science,'' pages 505, 506. 



THINKING AND KNOWING. 279 

every hypothesis as soon as it is found to be in irrecon- 
cilable conflict with well-established facts. The average 
life of a theory in science is said to be only ten years. 
The average would be lower still if all rejected theories 
had been put into books. The men possessed of a truly 
scientific spirit differ from ordinary men not only in the 
painstaking accuracy of their observations and in the 
surprising fertility with which they frame theories, but 
also in the habit of verifying every hypothesis until there 
is sufficient ground to establish its truth and to receive it 
as an addition to the sum total of human knowledge. 

The common people are quite as ready to frame theo- 
ries as the scientists and philosophers. It would be well 
if they were equally patient in testing their The 
theories and in verifying their suppositions, common 
The human mind cannot help generalizing. p®^p^®- 
The moment a child uses a common noun it begins to 
classify. Its tendency to pull things to pieces and to put 
them together again are exhibitions of the mind's ten- 
dency to treat everything by analysis and synthesis. 
Purpose and design, cause and effect early show them- 
selves in the thinking of children. The teacher need 
but guide these activities and give the mind the proper 
material to work upon ; the result cannot be doubtful if 
the mind which plays upon the learner's mind has been 
trained to operate according to the laws of thought and the 
principles which must guide in the discovery of the truth. 

Doubt is sometimes the prerequisite of knowledge. To 
raise a doubt in the mind of a growing youth may cause 
him to think. It may cause him to explore the 
grounds of his knowledge, to ascertain the ra- 
tional basis upon which his beliefs rest, and to reject such 
as were of the nature of prejudice or of tradition with no 
sufficient warrant for acceptance. Eational belief is far 
superior to blind faith. 



280 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

When the doubt is raised in r^ard to the verities of 
one's religious faith there is grave danger of landing in 
scepticism or infidelity. What is truth t may be asked 
in the spirit of Pilate, who turned away from the Great 
Teacher with a despairing sneer and without waiting for 
a reply. Pilate had trifled with his own conscience until 
he could no longer discern truth and righteousness. 
Some men need better hearts in order that they may 
think and know the highest truth. The hope can be held 
out that whenever the truth is earnestly sought by the 
human heart the soul will ultimately be guided into a 
knowledge of the truth. To disturb the grounds upon 
which rest the principles of morality and religion is a 
dangerous experiment, especially in the case of immature 
minds. The flood of doubt may sweep away the solid 
foundations of a pupil's moral nature and leave him a 
wreck upon the quicksands of vice or upon the rock of 
scepticism. 

It is the nature of the child to believe, to cherish faith 
in what others tell him and in what the world presents 
to his vision. To disturb the fervor and strength of this 
trust before the understanding is ripe for fuller knowl- 
edge may result in life-long injury. The child's faith in 
fairyland, in Santa-Glaus, should, of course, be kept from 
becoming a source of terror. The stories of ghosts, 
spooks, and hobgoblins sometimes employed in the nursery 
to influence conduct may cause fears, terrors, and horrors 
from which it is well to emancipate the child as speedily 
as possible through the light of clearer knowledge. 

Better than doubt as a stimulus to thought is the de- 
sire to know. St. Augustine was on fire to know. The 
The desire teachcr who kiudlcs and keeps burning this 
to know. fj»e in the soul of the pupil has supplied the 
most powerful incentive to thought ; for without thinking 
knowledge is impossible of attainment. 



THINKING AND KNOWING, 281 

As we may start our wood flaming by coals hot from 
another's fire, so we may kindle a burning desire for 
knowledge by bringing the mind in contact with minds 
that are all aglow with the desire to know. A burning 
fire may soon exhaust its fuel if left to itself. The teacher 
supplies the fuel, fans the fiame, directs its activity for 
well-defined purposes. Here the analogy breaks. In- 
stead of smoke and ashes we want living products as the 
result of knowing. As thinking leads to knowing, so 
knowing should give rise to further thinking. Nowhere 
is the teacher's function of guiding more indispensably 
necessary than in the interplay of these two activities. 
While the learner is engrossed in the pursuit of knowl- 
edge, the teacher is watching the process and the results. 
He is not satisfied unless the activity of thinking and 
knowing ends in full cognition. It has been fuu cogni- 
well said that a dog knows his master, but t*o^- 
does not cognize him ; that to cognize means to refer a 
perception to an object by means of a conception. The 
objects of thought must be sorted and arranged in groups ; 
the particular notion must take its place in the general 
concept the materials upon which the mind acts must 
be assinilated and organized into a unity, showing how 
each has its origin and how it stands in living relation to 
every otoer part of the organic whole ; otherwise think- 
ing cannot lead to complete cognition. 

The incident at the beginning of this chapter shows 
that some preparation is necessary to interpret sense- 
impressions and organize the materials of thought for 
the purpose of cognition. The degree of preparation 
de^rmines how far the instruction at a given ^^ ^^^^ 
tine shall aim to go. To get a clearer idea of of instrao- 
tie thing to be known may exhaust the learner's ^^^' 
strength. If so, the presentation should stop at that 
point. But as soon as his power and interest are equal 



282 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

to the task he should be led to analyze the object of 
thought so as to cognize the constituent elements, the 
essential attributes, a process whereby he will arrive at 
distinct knowledge. It may be advisable before dropping 
the inquiry to institute comparisons between objects of 
the same class, for the purpose of calling attention to 
differences and likenesses and evolving general concepts 
or universal propositions. For many thinkers these are 
the goal of thinking. K they can resolve the xmiverse 
to a few simple generalizations, their minds are satisfied. 
Nothing more barren can well be imagined or conceived. 
Appiica- ^giiition is not complete until the knowledge 

tionof has been or can be applied. At times there 
knowledge, jj^y |j^ ^ divisiou of labor and glory in the 
discovery and application of truth. The discoveries of 
Professor Henry which made the electric telegraph pos- 
sible involved thinking quite as valuable as the inven- 
tion of Professor Morse. The achievement of Cyrus W. 
Field in laying the Atlantic cable involved thinking 
quite as important as the researches and exx>eriments of 
Lord Kelvin which made the cable successful. Interest- 
ing examples of such division of labor in thinkin; cannot 
justify neglect of the applications after a genecQ truth 
has been evolved and stated. 

The instruction may sometimes begin with a statement 
of applications, in order to prepare the mind for the 
thinking that issues in knowing. The applications of 
color in the railway service, in navigation, and in the 
arts will create an interest in the study of color wifeout 
which the presentation of the fundamental ideas Joay 
be in vain. Several lecturers have admitted that ti«y 
failed, in the pres^tation of color lessons, to hold *ie 
attention of their pupil-teachers until they excited au 
interest in color by indicating important applications 
This statement of applications by way of preparation 



THINKING AND KNOWING. 283 

must, however, not be confounded with the applications 
which should follow the framing of general propositions 
and the cognition of general truths. 

The hypotheses of the scientist correspond to the gen- 
eral truths and principles which instruction always aims 
to reach. In all except the most advanced investigations, 
the pupil should work under the guidance of principles 
that have risen above the hypothetical stage. He should 
think under the inspiration of well-established truths. 
He should master the known in his chosen field before 
he seeks to enlarge the boundaries of human knowledge 
by invasions into the realm of the unknown. Sad is the 
spectacle of a talented mind wasting its strength in fruit- 
less efforts to rediscover what is already well established. } 

The formulation of truths in mathematical studies is 
sometimes carried to extremes. The pupil may at times 
be allowed to work under the guidance of prin- ^j^^ formu- 
ciples which he knows by implication, and lationof 
which he has never had occasion to formulate *^***^- 
in explicit statements. The formulation of the principles 
of algebra can be carried into the statement of hundreds 
of general propositions. If the pupil is asked to fix all 
these in' the crystallized or specific form given in the 
text-book, it may result in a prodigious waste of time. 
Furthermore, the effort to follow invariably any formal 
steps in the order of instruction is apt to make the in- 
struction unduly formal and lifeless. No thinker can 
afford to think in the set forms of the syllogism while 
evolving a train of thought. Conscious conformity to these 
hinders progress in the spontaneous evolution of germi- 
nal ideas. In like manner, although the student of peda- 
gogy may find a guide in the rules and principles of his 
science while preparing the subject-matter of a lesson, 
yet, in giving the instruction, the truth must be the 
object of chief regard, the centre of attention in con- 



284 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

sciousuess. Constaot thought of prescribed stei)S makes 
the teaching stiff and formal, and dissipates the joyous 
interest which accompanies free and spontaneous think- 
ing. Formal rules are very often like hobbles on the 
feet of the horse. They impede his speed, rob him of 
half his power and energy, and spoil his enjoyment 
of the open field. Bearing this in mind, the young 
teacher will perhaps not be harmed by the advice that in 
his teaching he should ever seek to lead the learner to 
clear and distinct i)erception of likenesses and differences 
in the subject-matter of each and every lesson. The 
newer methods of teaching a beginner to read, wisely 
draw attention to the points of similarity and difference 
in the shapes and sounds of the letters of the alphabet. 
They even go to the extreme of comparing sounds with 
the noises of animals, with which the child in the larger 
cities is totally unfamiliar. This error is not half so bad 
as the opposite extreme. Very much of the bad teach- 
ing by which the schools are afflicted arises from the 
assumption that the learner sees the points of agreement 
and difference which are so very obvious to the mature 
mind of the teacher. The consequence is mental confu- 
sion and loss of the joy of definite thinking. The detec- 
tion of likeness in objects having many points of 
diversity gives the mind an agreeable surprise. This 
emotion is an element in the pleasure afforded by the 
various forms of wit, metaphor, and allegory. Professor 
Similarity ^^^^ ^^ showu how greatly progress in science 
in and art is indebted to the discovery of simi- 
diversity. i^^itj in the midst of great diversity. * Much 
of the child's progress in knowledge must be ascribed 
to the same principle. Children notice points of simi- 
larity that often escape older persons. On seeing the 

* "The Senses and the Intellect," pages 488-624. 



THINKING AND KNOWING, 285 

picture of a tiger, they call it a cat. A mother who 
showed her little daughter, just beginuing to talk, the 
caricature of a man prominent in the public eye, was 
surprised to hear the child exclaim, ^^Papa." It was 
the child's word for man, as she afterwards discovered. 
Where she saw contrast, the child only noticed the points 
of similarity between one man and another. As the 
power of discrimination advances, the mind pays more 
attention to points of diflterence than to points of like- 
ness. Indistinguishableness gives way to clear and dis- 
tinct knowledge. With the further growth of intelligence 
the mind seeks the hidden resemblances in objects far 
removed from one another in space and time, or by sur- 
face appearances. At first sight the bat seems like a 
bird, because it can fly. Scientific discrimination assigns 
it to the class of mammals. The identification of the 
lightning in the clouds with the sparks of the electric 
machine gave Franklin world-wide reputation as a phi- 
losopher. The identification of the force which causes 
bodies to fall to the earth with the force which holds the 
moon in its orbit, and with the kind of force by which 
the sun attracts the bodies of the solar system, has been 
justly called the greatest example of the power to detect 
likeness in the midst of diversity. The power of detect- 
ing similarity in diversity should be appealed to when- 
ever it is helpful either for purposes of illustration or 
discovery. Algebra is shorn of half its difficulty as soon 
as the leainer is led to see that the operations in multi- 
plication, division, involution and evolution of mono- 
mials turn on signs, coefficients, and exponents. Let 
him grasp the thought that the words add, subtract, 
multiply, and divide respectively express the law of ex- 
ponents in the four operations above named ; and he will 
not only escape the perplexities of the average student 
in the more difficult operations of ordinary algebra, but 



286 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

he will also see at a glance the beautiful truth which 
underlies the manipulation of logarithms. 

Thinking that ripens in knowing involves comparison, 
discrimination, and formation of judgments. Through 
the detection of likeness and unlikeness in 
ingthat objocts and their relations, judgments are 
ripens into formed, inferences are made, and conclusions 
^' are drawn, which mark the transition from 
thinking to knowing. Discrimination, identification, 
judgment, reasoning, definition, division, and classifica- 
tion mark the stages through which the mind passes in 
thinking things, their relations, more esi)ecially their 
causes, effects, laws, and ends. Analysis and synthesis, 
induction and deduction, are the processes by which the 
intellect explores the content and extent of concepts, 
and passes to general principles and truths, and to their 
applications in thought and action. As processes of 
mental activity, these are discussed in detail by the 
psychologist. The laws of thought to which they must 
conform in order to be correct are set forth in treatises 
on logic. It would be a mistake to under-estimate the 
value of a knowledge of logic and psychology ; but 
neither of them can supply the place and function of the 
living teacher. He who would learn to think in some 
special line of research should go to a master of that 
si)ecialty, learn of him what is well established in the 
chosen field of study, imbibe hi3 methods of work, think 
his thoughts, catch his spirit, and follow his advice until 
the hour for independent investigation comes. Great is 
the tonic effect of a university atmosphere ; but greater 
still is the bracing influence of the atmosphere created 
by a specialist who is both a master in his department 
and a master in the art of teaching. The choice of a 
teacher is of more account than the choice of a university, 
either at home or abroad. 



THINKING AND KNOWING. 287 

Thinking is not the whole of knowing. Feeling and 
willing play an important part in thinking and knowing. 
Words like heretic, sceptic, and sophist have a Knowing 
history which shows the distrust of mankind in ^^voives 
pure intellectual effort. It would be hard to mere 
find a better commentary on the effect of a per- tanking. 
verse heart upon the operations of the intellect than the 
following paragraph from Max Miiller, although it was 
penned for a purpose entirely different from the use here 
made of it. 

'^No title could have been more honorable at first than 
was that of Sophistes. It was applied to the greatest 
thinkers, such as Socrates and Plato ; nay, it was not 
considered irreverent to apply it to tiie Creator of the 
Universe. Afterwards it sank in value because applied 
to one who cared neither for truth nor for wisdom, but 
only for victory, till to be called a sophist became almost 
an insult. Again, what name could have been more 
creditable in its original acceptation than that of sceptic t 
It meant thoughtful, reflective, and was a name given to 
philosophers who carefully looked at all the bearings 
of a case before they ventured to pronounce a positive 
opinion. And now a sceptic is almost a term of re- 
proach, very much like heretic,— a word which likewise 
began by conveying what was most honorable, a power 
to choose between right and wrong, till it was stamped 
with the meaning of choosing from sheer perversity what 
the mjyority holds to be wrong." * 

There are realms in which thought cannot beget 
knowledge of the truth until there is a radical change in 
the wishes and desires of the heart, in the choice and 
aims of the will, iu the movings of the inmost depths of 
the soul. 

* Max Muller'e ** Science of Thought," page 605. 



XVIII 

THINKING AND FEELING 



i» 



There is much contention among men whether thought or feel- 
ing is the better ; but feeling is the bow and thought the arrow ; 
and every good archer must have both. Alone, one is as helpless 
as the other. The head gives artillery ; the heart, powder. The 
one aims, and the other fires. 

Sesxjher. 

It may be noted that medical men, who are a scientific class, 
and, therefore, more than commonly aware of the great importance 
of disinterestedness in intellectual action, never trust their own 
judgment when they feel the approach of disease. They know 
that it is difficult for a man, however learned in medicine, to 
arrive at accurate conclusions about the state of a human body that 
concerns him so nearly as his own, even though the person who 
suffers has the advantage of actually experiencing the morbid sen- 
sations. 

Hahebton. 

When pupils are encouraged to make for themselves fresh com- 
binations of things already known, additional progress is certain. 
Variety of exercise in this way is as attractive to children as many 
of their games. If, when such exercises are given, the rivalry in- 
volved in taking places were discontinued, and all extraneous 
excitement avoided, the play of intelligence would bring an ample 
reward. I plead for discontinuance of rivalry in such exercises, 
because, while it stimulates some, in other cases it hinders and even 
stops the action of intelligence. If any teacher doubts this, he may 
subject a class to experiment by watching the faces of the pupils, 
and next by asking from the child who has been corrected an ex- 
planation of the reason for the correction. Hurry in such things 
is an injury, and so is all commingling of antagonistic motives. 
All fear hinders intellectual action, and the fear of wounded ambi- 
tion offers no exception to the rule. The fear of being punished is 
more seriously detrimental than any other form of fear which can 
be stirred. It is essentially antagonistic to the action of intelli- 
gence. Let mind have free play. 

Caldebwood. 

290 



XVIII 
THINKING AND FEELING 

In all our thinkiiig it is very important to get a clear 
and fall vision of the thing to be known. This is not 
always as easy as it seems. Like Nelson in the battle of 
Copenhagen, we may consciously tnrn the blind eye 
towards what we do not like and exclaim, ^^ I do not see 
it." The lenses through which we gaze may be green, or 
smoked, or ill-adjusted, and thus without suspecting it 
we may see things in false colors or distorted shapes. 
Our bodily condition may color everything we see and 
think. In health and high animal spirits every Bodily con- 
thought is rose-colored. In periods of disease ditions. 
and depression everything we think seems to pass, '^ like 
a great bruise, through yellow, green, blue, purple, to 
black. A liver complaint causes the universe to be 
shrouded in gray ; and the gout covers it with inky pall, 
and makes us think our best friends little better than 
fiends in disguise." 

One of the greatest hinderances to correct thinking is 
prejudice. Hence all who have presumed to give advice 
on the conduct of the understanding have had . ^, 

., . . . . ,7 ^ Prejudice. 

something to say concerning prejudice. Bacon 
has a chapter on the idols of the mind, and Locke con- 
tends that we should never be in love with any opinion. 
In a charming little volume on the ^' Art of Thinking," 
Knowlson has a chapter in which he enumerates and dis- 
cusses the prejudices arising from birth, nationality, tem- 
perament, theory, and unintelligent conservatism. The 
list might easily be enlarged. Close analysis must con- 

291 



292 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

vince any one that feeling strengthens all forms of preju- 
dice, and there are very few, if any, fields of thought in 
which it is not essential for the attainment of truth to 
divest ourselves of preconceived notions and the resultant 
feelings, and to weigh the arguments on both sides of a 
question before reaching a conclusion. 

A student may take up geometry with a feeling of 
prejudice for or against the study, based upon what he 
has heard from others concerning its difficulties or the 
teacher who gives the instruction ; but after he has mas- 
tered the demonstration of a theorem he does not lie 
awake at night wishing the opposite wei-e true. In the 
realms of mathematics the wishes of the heart are not in 
The wishes couflict with the couclusions of the intellect, 
of the heart In the domain of ethical, social, historical, or 
co^fu^ons religious truth the head often says one thing 
of the Intel- and the heart another. " We see plainly enough 

^®^** what we ought to think or do, but we feel an 
irresistible inclination to think or do something else.'^ 
In most of the instances in which the study of science has 
led to agnosticism the wish was father to the thought. 
When two men argue the same question, weighing the 
same arguments and reaching opposite conclusions, as 
did Stonewall Jackson and his father-in-law at the out- 
break of the Civil War, the inclinations and wishes of the 
heart must have influenced their thinking. 

Feeling is an element in all forms of mental activity. 
The intellect never acts without stirring the emotions. 
Feeiin an ^^^ tcacher who rcprovcd a pupil for showing 
element in signs of pleasure and delight over the reasoning 
l^tiXT ^^ Euclid, saying, " Euclid knows no emotion,'' 
must have been a novice in the art of introspec- 
tion. Who cannot recall the thrill of delight with which 
he first finished the proof of the Pythagorean proposi- 
tion t Mathematics is considered difficult ; the emotions 



THINKING AND FEELING, 293 

connected with victory and mastery sustain the stadent 
as he advances from conquest to conquest. The effort 
which some thinkers make to reduce the phenomena 
of the universe to a few universal principles is, with- 
out doubt, sustained and stimulated by a feeling that 
there must be unity in the midst of the most manifold 
diversity. 

Scientists and philosophers are prone to imagine them- 
selves ft^e from the prejudices which warp the thinking 
of the common mind. Descartes started to divest him- 
self of all preconceived notions ; yet he could not divest 
himself of the notion that he was immensely superior to 
other men. ^ ^ This French philosopher regarded 

Dcscftrtos 

himself as almost infallible, and had a scorn of 
all his contemporaries. He praised Harvey, but says he 
only learned a single point from him ; Galileo was only 
good in music, and here he attributed to him the elder 
G^alileo's work ; Pascal and Campanella are pooh-poohed. 
Here is an instance of how pride in one's own work may 
beget a cheap cynicism with regard to the work of 
others ] and how as a feeling it blinds the mind to excel- 
lences outside those we have agreed to call our own.'' 
Of men in general Jevons, in his treatise on the " Physi- 
cal Sciences,'' * says,— 

'^It is difficult to find persons who can with perfect 
fairness register facts for and against their own peculiar 
views. Among uncultivated observers, the tendency to 
remark favorable and to forget unfavorable events is so 
great that no reliance can be placed upon their supposed 
observations. Thus arises the enduring fallacy that the 
changes of the weather coincide in some way with the 
changes of the moon, although exact and impartial regis- 
ters give no countenance to the fact. The whole race of 

* Page 402. 



294 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

prophets and quacks live on the overwhelming effect of 
one sneceas compared with hundreds of fsolures which are 
unmentioned or forgotten. As Bacon says, ^Men mark 
when they hit, and never mark when they miss.' And 
we should do well to bear in mind the ancient story, 
quoted by Bacon, of one who in Pagan times was shown 
a temple with a picture of all the x>ersons who had been 
saved from shipwreck after paying their vows. When 
asked whether he did not now acknowledge the power 
of the gods, *Ay,' he answered; ^but where are they 
painted that were drowned after their vowsf " 

Sometimes the feeling thait a given way of looking at 
things is undoubtedly correct prevents the mind from 
thinking at all. A lady claimed that she had been 
taught to accept the statements of the Bible in their 
literal sense, and that in this belief she was going to live 
and die. She was asked to read the twenty-third Psalm. 
At the end of the first verse she was asked whether she 
could be anything else than a sheep if the Lord was 
literally her Shepherd. When, a little farther on, she 
was asked in what green pastures she had been lying 
down, she burst into tears. Her condition, and that 
of hundreds of thousands of others, is correctly given 
in the opening pages of J. S. Mill's '^ Subjection of 
Women." * 

^^So long as an opinion is strongly rooted in the feel- 
ings, it gains rather than loses in stability by having a 
J. B. Mill preponderating weight of argument against it 
ontheinflu- p^^ if it were accepted as the result of argu- 
ingupon ment, the refatation of the argument might 
thinking, shake the solidity of the conviction ; but when 
it rests solely on feeling, the worse it fares in argument- 
ative contest the more persuaded its adherents are that 



THINKING AND FEELING, 

their feeling must have some deeper ground which the 
arguments do not reach ; and while the feeling remains, 
it is always throwing up fresh intrenchments of argu- 
ment to fill any breach made in the old." 

When a man's opinions are, as he thinks, grounded in 
first principles, it is but natural that he should be un- 
willing to abandon them without a struggle to intrench 
himself behind impregnable arguments. If he has 
reached his conclusions as the result of long and careful 
inquiry, he has a right to hold on to them with more 
than ordinary tenacity. The same regard for truth 
which led him to form an opinion should, how- Regard for 
ever, make him willing to change whenever he *™*^- 
finds himself in the wrong. He should avoid the frame 
of mind of the Scotch lady who, when it was charged 
that she was not open to conviction, exclaimed, ^^N^ot 
open to conviction I I scorn the imputation. But," 
added she, after a moment's pause, ^^show me the man 
who can convince me." The secret of this tenacity of 
opinion is not love of truth, but love of self, — in one 
word, pride. 

In view of the hinderances which certain kinds or 
degrees .of feeling throw into the way of thinking, it 
< might be inferred that the thinker must suppress the 
element of feeling in his inner life. ISo greater mistake 
could be made. If the Creator endowed man with the 
power to think, to feel, and to will, these several activi- 
ties of the mind are not designed to be in conflict, and 
so long as any one of them is not perverted or allowed to 
run to excess, it necessarily aids and strengthens the 
others in their normal functions. Whilst it is a duty to 
overcome prejudice, fear, embarrassment, anxiety, and 
other emotions or degrees of emotion which interfere 
with our ability to think correctly, especially when face 
to fzx^ with an audience or with our peers and superiors, 






THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

it is equally a duty to cultivate the emotions which stim- 
ulate thinking and strengthen the will. Without the 

Emotioni ability to feel strongly, it is impossible to stir 
we the hearts of an audience. A strong character 

helpful, jg impossible without strong emotion. Jesus 
could weep and denounce. He showed the strongest 
emotion in his public discourses and at all the great 
turning-points of his life. The men and women who 
have done most for the race showed the element of strong 
feeling in their thinking and in their efforts at philan- 
thropy and reform. It is the feeling of patriotism that 
sustains the soldier on the field of battle and the states- 
man in the midst of public criticism and personal abuse. 
According to Plato, the feeling with which education 

Dr Brum- ^^^^ ^® wonder. "The elementary school," 

baugh on says Dr. Brumbaugh, " does its best work when 
^ it creates a desire to learn, not when it satisfies 

emotioni. 

the learner." Teachers everywhere are begin- 
ning to see that it is the mission of the elementary school 
to beget a desire for knowledge that will carry the pupil 
onward and upward, and not to make him feel satisfied 
with a mere knowledge of the rudiments, so that he will 
leave the school at the first opportunity to earn a penny. 

Dr. Brumbaugh further says, — 

" We must recognize the emotional life as the basis of 
appeal for all high acting and high thinking. We can 
never make 'men by ignoring an essential element in 
manliness. To live well, we must know clearly, feel 
keenly, and act nobly ; and, indeed, we shall have noble 
action only as we have gladsome action, — ^action inspired 
of feeling, not of thought The church made men of 
great power because it made men of great feeling.'' 

The close connection between thinking and feeling 
cannot be ignored without serious detriment to the in- 
tellectual development of the pupil. Some teachers 



THINKING AND FEELING. 297 

play upon the feelings in ways that prevent accurate and 
effective thinking. The tones of voice in which they 
speak, their manner of putting questions and pitying 
administering discipline, their lack of self-con- upon the 
trol, and their frantic efforts to get and keep *®®^°«*- 
order cause the pupils to feel ill at ease and destroy the 
calmness of soul, which is the first condition of logical 
thinking. The skilfiQ teacher calls into play feelings 
like joy, hope, patriotism, that stimulate and invigorate 
the whole intellectual life j he is extremely careful not 
to stir emotions like fear, anger, and hat.e, which hinder 
clear and vigorous thinking. 

Feeling plays an important part in the examinations 
by superintendents for the promotion of pupils, or by 
State boards whose function it is to license persons to 
teach or preach, to practise law, medicine, or dentistry, 
or to test the fitness of applicants for some branch of 
civil or military service. Examiners are often responsi- 
ble for the failure of those whom they examine. If the 
first questions arouse the fear of failure, causing Responsi- 
the mind to picture the disappointment and ^^^^l 
displeasure of parents and teachers and friends, examina- 
and the other evils which result from a loss of ****"*• 
class standing, the resulting emotions hinder effective 
thinking and thus prevent the pupil from doing justice 
to himself and his teachers. The expert seeks to lift 
those whom he examines above all feelings of embarrass- 
ment. "With a friendly smile, a kind word, and a few 
easy questions he puts the mind at ease, dissipates the 
6iead of failure, and gets results which are an agreeable 
surprise to all concerned. If he cannot otherwise make 
those before him work to the best advantage, he will even 
sacrifice his dignity by the use of a good-natured joke 
which turns the laugh upon himself or upon some other 
member of the board of examiners. Jokes at the exi)ense 



298 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

of any one of those examined are a species of cruelty 
which cannot be too severely condemned, to say nothing 
of the effect upon the results of the examination. 

Within certain limits thinking begets feeling, and feel- 
ing stimulates thinking. Beyond these limits each inter- 
feres with the other. When feeling rises to the height 
of passion it beclouds the judgment and prevents reflec- 
tion. Certain kinds of speculative thinking leave the 
Speculative heart cold and ultimately destroy the better 

*^**^*^^***«- emotions and the warmer affections. '^It is 
terrible," said the daughter of a voluminous writer on 
theology, ^^when a man feels a x)erpetual impulse to 
write. It makes him a stranger in his own house, and 
deprives wife and children of their husband and fstther." 
Abstract thinking may be indulged in to the exclusion 
of the tastes and emotions which help to make life worth 
living. The oft-quoted experience of Darwin is a case in 
point In his autobiography he gives his exx)erience, 
showing the effect of his exclusive devotion to scientific 
pursuits upon his ability to ei\joy poetry, music, and pic- 
tures. ^'TJp to the age of thirty and beyond it i)oetry of 
many kinds gave me great pleasure, and even as a school- 

Darwin'8 boy I took iuteusc delight in Shakespeare, es- 
experience. pecially in the historical plays. I have also 
said that pictures formerly gave me considerable and 
music very great delight. But now for many years I can- 
not endure to read a line of poetry. I have tried lately 
to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it 
nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures 
or music. Music generally sets me thinking too energeti- 
cally on what I have been at work on, instead of giving 
me pleasure. . . . My mind seems to have become a 
kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large 
collections of facts 5 but why this should have caused the 
atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the 



THINKING AND FEELING. 299 

higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. . . . K I had 
to live my life again^ I would have made a rule to read 
some poetry and listen to some music at least once a 
week J for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied 
would thus have been kept alive through use. The loss 
of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly 
be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the 
moral character by enfeebling the emotional part of our 
nature.'^ * 

Every teacher has both felt and witnessed the effect of 
embarrassment upon ability to think. To face an audi- 
ence of a thousand people was embarrassing to T^e sight 
some excellent thinkers like Melanchthon and of an audi- 
Washington. On the olher hand, the sight of ®^*^®- 
a multitude of listening, upturned faces stimulates natures 
and temperaments like that of Martin Luther and Patrick 
Henry, causing them to think more vigorously and to feel 
more deeply. 

Great thoughts spring from the heart. This is certainly 
true of thoughts which have lifted men to higher planes 
of effort. And it is true of the best thoughts Great 
and volitions which a pupil puts forth. The t^o«»i^te. 
desire for knowledge may develop into the love of truth. 
The student is half made as soon as he seeks knowledge 
for its own sake and values the possession of truth above 
all other worldly possessions. 

The Herbartians deserve praise for the attention they 
have given the doctrine of interest. The older text-books 
on psychology seldom refer to interest as an im- 
portant element in the education of the child. 
The greatest boon which can come to a child is happi- 
ness, and this was impossible in the days when fear of 
the rod held sway in the school-room. Then children 

* Darwin's *' Autobiography," page 81. 



300 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

looked forward to tlie school with feelings of dread ; they 
went with fear and trembling. Prom the day that the 
children became interested in their lessons the rod was 
no longer required. Instead of crying because they must 
go to school, they now cry because they cannot go. 
Through interest the school becomes the place to which 
children best like to go. 

A boy who was pronounced incorrigible, and who had 
been transferred from school to school because he could 
not get along with his teachers, at last met a t^eacher who 
discovered that he could take apart and put together 
watches and clocks. She allowed him to fix her clock, 
Interest in and thus wou his heart. She asked him to ex- 
adock. plain to the school the mechanism of instru- 
ments for keeping time. His interest in clocks she con- 
nected with the numbers twelve and sixty, then with the 
time-table, with denominate numbers, and finally with 
the whole subject of arithmetic. Interest in the exercises 
of the school converted the incorrigible boy into an obedi- 
ent and studious pupil.* 

There is no more important element of emotion for 
teachers to cultivate than that which enters into the feel- 
ing of interest Interest sustains the power of thought, 
diminishes the need of effort in the direction of voluntary 
attention, and lies at the basis of all successful teaching, 
book-making, and public speaking. The teacher, the 
writer, the speaker who wearies us has lost his power 
over us. The lesson, the book, the sermon that interests 
us has found an entrance to our minds ] the greater the 
interest the more potent and profound the influence upon 
the inner life. 

The moment a teacher begins to lose interest in a sub- 
ject, that moment he begins to lose his ability to teach 

* For this incident the writer is indebted to Dr. A. E. Winsbip. 



J 

THINKING AND FEELING. 30 

that subject From this point of view the recent gradu- 
ate has a manifest advantage over the old pedagogue 
whose interest in the subjects of instruction has 
been dulled by frequent repetition. The latter cpnditioM 
can keep himself from reaching the dead-line awuty to 
by keeping up his studies in the allied depart- **^^' 
ments of knowledge, and by watching the growth of 
mind and heart in his pupils, — a growth that always re- 
veals something new and interesting by reason of the 
boundless possibilities that slumber in every human 
being. The interest in the growing mind is sponta- 
neously transferred to the branches of knowledge which 
stimulate that growth, and, in ways that no one can ex- 
plain, the interest which the teacher feels is commu- 
nicated to the pupils whose minds are prepared to grasp 
his instruction. 

By far the larger proportion of books taken from our 
free libraries are books of fiction, — ^books which ap- 
peal to our emotional life. It shows that even 
those who are habitual readers can .be best 
reached through the emotions. Of course, the act of 
reading proves that their feelings are reached through 
the intellect ; yet it cannot be denied that emotion is the 
element of their inner life which sustains the interest in 
the novel. Appeals to the intellect which do not touch 
the heart fail to reach the deepest depths of our being, 
and hence fail to stimulate in others the productive 
powers of the souL Only thoughts which come from the 
heart can reach the heart. This is true of the child and 
the adult, of the reader and the listener, of the scientist 
and the man of affairs, of the author and the editor, of 
the orator and the philosopher, of the teacher, and, in 
short, of all whose duty it is to stimulate the thinking 
and to influence the conduct of their fellow-men. 



XIX 

THINKING AND WILLING 



Strong reasonfi make strong actions. 

Bad thoughts quickly rii)en into bad actions. 

Bishop Poktens. 

The man of thought strikes deepest, and strikes safely. 

Savage. 

Reason is the director of man's will, discovering in action what 
is good ; for the laws of well-doing are the dictates of right reason. 

Hooker. 



804 



XIX 
THINKING AND WILLING 

Much thinking is spontaneous, in the sense that there 
is no conscious effort of the will to direct and control the 
activity of the mind. Under normal conditions the 
stream of thought flows onward, like the current of water 
in the bed of a river. When the onward movement is 
iuterrupted, an act of volition may be needed to bring the 
mind back to the regular channel. There are forms of 
intellectual activity called dreaming, reverie, and medita- 
tion, in which the ideas foUow each other without any 
effort to regulate them. Often they are fanciful, inco- 
herent, and illogical ; they are suggested by passing ob- 
jects, by musical sounds, perhaps by the stimulating 
influence of a drug or narcotic. Few can start a train of 
thought, winding up their minds as they would a clock, 
and then letting it run down until the discourse, lecture, 
or newspaper article is complete, no conscious effort of 
the will being required to keep the mind from wander- 
ing. This may be partly a gift of nature, but mostly it 
is the result of discipline. 

What is discipline ! We speak of mental discipline, 
of military discipline, of family discipline. What is 
the element which all these have in common ! ^, , „ 

Discipline. 

An army is under discipline when every sol- 
dier and every officer is subject to the will of his su- 
X)erior, so that the entire body of men can be moved 
against the foe at the will of the commanding general. 
A family is under discipline when the entire household 

20 806 



806 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

is under the control of the head of the house. The 
school is under discipline when all the pupils are subject 
to the will of the teacher, and to the rales which he has 
laid down for the regulation of conduct. The mind is 

Mental Under discipline when its powers are under the 
diBdpUne. control of the will, and its activities are in ac- 
cord with the laws of thought It is important to ascer- 
tain the laws of thought which underlie correct thinking. 
These are deYelox>ed and discussed in treatises on logic, 
— ^a science that should be mastered not only by those who 
must meet others in the field of argument and contro- 
versy, but by all who seek to regulate the thinking of 
their own minds, or to aid others in the formation of cor- 
rect habits of thought. 

Fortunately, the law of habit here comes into play to 
lighten the conscious effort of the will. When the intel- 
lect, through the guidance of a conscious will, 
has acted according to the forms of thought 
in which the logician can find no fallacies, it tends to act 
again in that way, and the next time a less expenditure 
of conscious effort is required. The thinking of the 
teacher, if correct and logical, tends to beget correct and 
logical habits of thought on tiie part of the pupil. It is 
a piece of good fortune to fall under the dominating in- 
fluence of a towering intellect. For a time the growing 
mind that is engaged in thinking the thoughts, and mas- 
tering the speculations, the reflections, the reasonings, of 
a master who is such not merely in name, but also in 
fe<3t, may be in a subjection very like unto intellectual 
slavery. Sooner or later the day of emancipation ar- 
rives j and those who were not under the invigorating 
tuition of such an intellectual giant are surprised at the 
thought-power developed by the youth whose equal they 
hitherto fancied themselves to be. 

Those who expect to spend their days in teaching, lee- 



THINKING AND WILLING. 307 

taring, preaching, pleading, or writing have great reason 
to strive after the discipline which results in placing all 
the powers of mind and heart nnder the con- voutionai 
trol of the will. The feelings which interfere control. 
with reflection should be repressed and expelled by 
strenuous effort. The emotions which stimulate think- 
ing should be cherished and fostered. The inner nexus, 
which binds ideas in logical trains of thought, should be 
followed until the habit becomes second nature. 

Thinking which goes forward according to some estab- 
lished habit requires less effort than intellectual work 
that is accompanied with much volitional effort. This 
fact serves as a valuable indication to men who must do 
intellectual work for the press or the pulpit or the 
lecture-room. Perhaps no one is better qualified to speak 
on this point than Dr. Carpenter, who studied mental 
action from the physiological point of view, and whose 
publications show the quality, as well as the quantity, of 
his intellectual labor. He says, — 

'' To individuals of ordinary mental activity who have 
been trained in the habit of methodical and connected 
thinking, a very considerable amount of work Dr. carpen- 
is quite natural ; and when such persons are in ^^' 
good bodily health, and the subject of their labor is con- 
genial to them,— especially if it be one that has been 
chosen by themselves, as furnishing a centre of attraction 
around which their thoughts spontaneously tend to range 
themselves, — their intellectual operations require but 
little of the controlling or directing power of the will, 
and may be continued for long periods together without 
fatigue. But from the moment when an indisposition is 
experienced to keep the attention fixed upon the subject, 
and the thoughts wander from it unless coerced by the 
will, the mental activity loses its spontaneous or auto- 
matic character j and (as in the act of walking) more 



308 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

effort is required to maintain it volitionally during a 
brief i>eriod, and more fiEttigue is subsequently experi- 
enced from such exertion than would be involved in the 
continuance of an automatic oi>eration through a period 
many times as long. Hence he has found it practically 
the greatest economy of mental labor to work vigorously 
when he feels disposed to do so, and to refrain from exer- 
tion, so far as possible, when it is felt to he an exertion. Of 
course, this rule is by no means universally applicable ; 
for there are many individuals who would pass their 
whole time in listless inactivity if not actually spurred on 
by the feeling of necessity. But it holds good for those 
who are sufficiently attracted by objects of interest before 
them, or who have in their worldly position a sufficiently 
strong motive to exertion to make them feel that they 
must work j the question with them being, hmo they can 
attain their desired results with the least expenditure of 
mental effort." * 

There is a danger to which public speakers are ex- 
posed, against which the efforts of a resolute will are not 
too potent. To capture a crowd that is more 
easily moved by jokes than by argument, the 
speaker resorts to sallies of wit and humor and turns the 
laugh upon an opponent. The temptation to cultivate 
one's gifts in this direction is very strong, and when 
yielded to, it destroys the powers of logical reflection and 
consecutive thought. Wit is illogical, because it intro- 
duces into the current of thought what is foreign to the 
subject in hand, the incongruity giving rise to the laugh- 
ter. Wit and humor serve a useful purpose in acting as 
a safety-valve to let off the discontent which accumulates 
in the human breast, and may be used for that purpose 
with great effect. But they should never be allowed to 

* "Mental Physiology," page 389. 



THINKING AND WILLING. 309 

divert the stream of thought from its logical channel. 
The reputation for wit and humor may dispose people to 
laugh at everything a man says. It destroys their respect 
for his judgment and impairs his power to follow a line 
of thought to its legitimate conclusion. The ability to 
discuss a theme in aU its bearings and details implies the 
I)ower to investigate a subject in its essence and relations, 
to resolve an idea into its elements, and to present these 
in the form most easily understood, — an object which is 
as far from the purposes of the funny man as the poles 
are from the equator. 

All thinking tends towards the expression of thought. 
'^ Every expression of thought,'' says Tracy, *^ whether it 
be word, or mark, or gesture, is the result of an YoTms of 
active will, and as such may be classed among thoughtr 
the movements." Word, mark, and gesture do ^^p'®***^'^- 
not exhaust the list of movements by which the mind 
expresses thought. Every handicraft is a form of ex- 
pressing thought quite as important as writing and 
speaking and gesticulating. The fine arts and the useful 
arts are so many ways through which the will passes into 
thinking and issues in the expression of thought. Move- 
ments for reform are the intense expressions of great 
thoughts which have their origin in the heart. The men 
who spend their lives in the atmosphere of colleges and 
universities are apt to be satisfied if they have expressed 
their thoughts in a lecture or on the printed page. They 
live in books, and their thinking terminates in books. 
The thinking which issues in getting things done, in 
deeds, actions, achievements, is undervalued and too 
often ignored. University men are waking up to this 
defect in their thinking. They are throwing Thinking 
themselves into movements for reform and ^^^on. 
giving the world splendid examples of the translation of 
thought into vigorous action. The effort to carry theory 



310 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

into practice reacts powerfully upon the mind, forces the 
individual to see things as they are, and saves him from 
the habit of looking only for things which the schools 
have taught him to exi)ect. When thinking issues in 
doing, the process promotes intellectual honesty. This 
remark is especially applicable to exercises in which the 
hand makes in wood, metal, marble, or clay what the 
mind has conceived. The execution cannot be accurate 
unless the thinking has been accurate and satisfactory. 
Drawing is a universal language. It imposes upon the 
mind a d^ree of accuracy which is wanting in the fleet- 
ing spoken word or even in the more permanent printed 
or written sentences. 

The movements in manual training are an excellent 
preparation for the movements in the handicrafts and the 
daily occupations by which men gain the necessaries and 
the comforts of life. Ten thousand men are active in 
supplying our breakfast-table, and many thousand more 
in providing clothing, shelter, light, heat, and the mani- 
fold necessities and luxuries of modern society. All 
these involve thinking quite as useful, as logical, and as 
Thinking effective as the thinking which ends in talk or 
in business, printer's ink. The relation of thinking to doing 
and the reflex influence which the latter exerts upon the 
former is seen in the solution of problems and in all exer- 
cises involving the application of knowledge. Manual 
training is really and primarily a training in thinking, 
but it is the kind of thinking most closely related to 
thinking in things, and its value in education is so great 
that it has led to the formulation of the maxim, We learn 
to do by doing, — a maxim which deserves separate con- 
sideration, because, as usually applied, it is taken to 
mean that doing by the hand necessarily and inevitably 
leads to thinking and knowing. 
Another aspect of the relation of thinking to willing 



THINKING AND WILLING. 311 

claims oar attention. Thinking is an important element 
in the growth of the will. The education of the will is 
coming to be recognized as a matter of supreme Growth of 
importance. The development of character is *^® ^'^• 
everywhere emphasized. No teacher in these days re- 
gards intellectual training as the sole or chief aim of the 
school. The philosopher is no longer regarded as the 
highest type of humanity. The age demands that thought 
shall pass into volition, and that volition shall manifest 
itself in action. The executive is not satisfied with the 
investigation of a subject in its essence and relations, with 
the elaboration of thought into a system ; he must get 
things done. Mere thinking he despises. The philoso- 
pher he regards as a man troubled with ideas, the poet as 
a man troubled with fancies and rhymes ; he hates men 
who let their minds ''go astray into regions not peopled 
with real things, animate or inanimate, even idealized, 
but with personified shadows created by the illusions of 
metaphysics or by the mere entanglement of words, and 
think these shadows the proper objects of the highest, the 
most transcendental philosophy. '' And the sympathies 
of the multitudes are on the side of the executive in his 
exaltation of the will as the chief element of utility and 
success. 

The acts of the will should be guided by intelligence. 
The will is weak and vacillating if the ends to be accom- 
plished are not clearly conceived, if the purposes to be 
accomplished are not definitely thought out. Thinking 
is the guide to willing. Thought gives direction to voli- 
tion. 

There are successive stages in the growth of the will as 
clearly defined as the activities of memory and imagina- 
tion. In the first or lowest stage the aim is some form of 
happiness. In the second stage the will acts under the 
influence of some ethical idea, commonly finding expres- 



312 TMJNKJNQ AND LEARNINQ TO THINK. 

sion in a maxim like the command, Thou shalt not steal, 
or in some fixed occupation like a trade or farm work. 
In the third the will acts under the inspiration of fhe 
good or its opposite, and from motives grounded in right 
or wrong. In all these stages of growth thinking is a 
most important fector. Let us go into details for purposes 
of illustration. The human will in its process of develop- 
ment starts on a physical rather than a spiritual basis. 
On the one hand a want is felt and on the other an im- 
pulse towards the satisfsiction of that want. In course of 
time this impulse or appetence assumes the form of intel- 
ligent or conscious purpose looking towards the gratifica- 
tion of felt wants, and then the will begins to show itself 
seif-gratifl- in the form of clear, definite volitions and ac- 
cation. tions. The strength of the will depends largely 
upon these impulses or appetences; and their strength 
in turn depends upon the health, the temperament, the 
organization (physical and psychical) of the individual. 
If by careful diet, exercise, or otherwise, we invigorate 
these, we thereby furnish capital that will in after years 
bear compound interest in the form of strong will-power. 
If the diet, exercise, play, sleep, and work are not prop- 
erly regulated, first by the parent, the nurse, and the 
teacher, and later by the individual himself, the appe- 
tences develop into appetites that enslave the wiU and 
seriously interfere with its further growth. As the power 
to think is developed, the will passes over into a higher 
stage of activity. The very longing for happiness leads 
the child to impose restrictions upon itself. It feels 
happy if it can secure the approbation of those with 
whom it associates. If we show our displeasure at some- 
thing it has done, the little philosopher begins to practise 
self-denial in certain directions for the purpose of regain- 
ing and retaining our good will. The second stage is now 
reached in which self-gratification gives place to self- 



THINKINQ AND WILLING. 313 

denial; the will acting under the influence of one or 
more ethical ideas. The child at school is lifted upon this 
loftier plane by the circumstances which sur- 
round him ; it must practise the school virtues, 
— punctuality, industry, obedience, and the like ; it ac- 
cepts certain forms of self-restraint in keeping quiet, in 
abstaining from play, in observing the rules of the school. 
Where the discipline is rigid and the instruction lacks 
interest, it may even conceive of the school as a mere 
place of self-denial and self-restraint. '*Why do you 
come here!" asked a director. The little boy replied, 
"We come here to sit and wait for school to let out.'' 
The hours at school can be sweetened by exercises in 
thinking and expressing thought to such an extent that 
the school becomes the place to which children best like 
to go. Some full-grown men have not advanced very far 
beyond this second stage in the growth of the will. They 
follow some regular occupation as the boy does in going 
to school ; they practise certain forms of virtue, — say 
honesty, so that you could intrust to them your pocket- 
book with perfect safety, — but they break the Sabbath, 
use God's name in vain, and commit daily many other 
sins and transgressions. Occasionally one finds a school 
in which no pupil would dare to be caught telling a 
lie, and yet the moral tone is low, there being vices 
which, like a cankerworm, eat out the moral 

TI16 risrlit 

life of the school. The teacher should not feel 
satisfied until he has raised the pupil to the thii'd stage, 
where the will is brought under the inspiration of tiie 
good, and right beeomes the law of life. 

Upon this highest plane different phases of develop- 
ment can be detected. The law of right may brandish 
the avenging rod of conscience and drive the individual 
into paths of rectitude. The idea of duty thus operating 
alone may leduoe him to the subservience of a slave and 



314 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

prev^it him from reaching the high stature of x>6rfect 
human freedom. This kind of slavery is apt to be fol- 
lowed by a straggle in which the lower nature seeks to 
assert itself against the higher, and if the latter conquers, 
the person is apt to be elated with the feeling of victory. 
Whenever you hear a man boast of the sacrifices he has 
made in his devotion to duty, you can rest assured he has 
not yet reached that lofty elevation in will-culture upon 
which the person does right spontaneously and without 
effort, and never dreams of having made a sacrifice in the 
I)erformance of the hardest duties. 

Of course, the development from the first stage may 
move in the opposite direction. If the appetences are 
gratified beyond the requirements of self-preser- 
vation, or of the well-being of the child, they 
grow into uncontrollable desires and passions ; the indi- 
vidual sinks deeper and deeper into selfishness. .He may 
deny himself for the sake of some ambition, or vice, or 
wicked end which the soul cherishes ; then, unless lifted 
up by the grace of God, he wiU ultimately land in a state 
bordering on that of Mephistopheles in Goethe's Faust, 
a character who found pleasure in human suffering, and 
whose will was constantly under the direction and inspira- 
tion of the principle of evil. He will at last become like 
Milton's Satan, who exclaimed, *^ Evil, be thou my good." 
College boys who delight in hazing innocent freshmen 
have gone far towards this loathsome stage of moral 
degradation, the lowest which the will can reach in its 
downward career. 

Now, it is easy to see the relation of thinking co these 

several stages of will-development. Volition presupposes 

Thought something to be done, an end to be sought and 

and vou- accomplished. If the will is to act steadily in 

**°^- the endeavor to xealize this eud, the end must 

be clearly thought and held before the soul in definite 



THINKING AND WILLING. 315 

form. To do the right implies that the right be known as 
the result of right thinking. A soul ignorant of right 
cannot be expected to practise the virtues which are 
grounded in the law of right. On the other hand, many 
forms of evil are never conceived by young people unless 
suggested to them by their superiors. 

Volition issues in doing, and doing is a powerful stim- 
ulus to thinking. Making things out of wood, metal, 
marble, wax, papier-mach6, or even out of paper is genu- 
ine thinking in things. It is a species of doing which 
flows from thinking through willing and reacts upon the 
process of thinking. To see how a thing is made is better 
than to be told how, but to make it by our own effort, 
skill, and thought is vastly more educative than seeing 
and hearing. Manual training tends to make the pupil 
intellectually honest. He cannot get away from a thought 
expressed in wood or other material as he can from a 
thought expressed in language which may suffice to sug- 
gest his idea, but not to give it adequate expression. 
This influence of doing upon thinking has led to the for- 
mulation of the maxim. We learn to do by doing, — a 
maxim whose limitations and legitimate meaning it will 
be necessary to discuss in a separate lecture. 



XX 
THINKING AND DOING 



817 



When we torn to modem pedagogics, we see how enormously 
the field of reactive conduct has been extended by the introduction 
of all those methods of concrete object-teaching which are the 
glory of our contemporary schools. Verbal reactions, useful as 
they are, are insufficient. The pupiPs words may be right, but 
the concepts corresponding to them are often direfully wrong. In 
a modem school, therefore, they form only a small part of what 
the pupil is required to do. He must keep note-books, make 
drawings, plans, and maps, take measurements, enter the labora- 
tory and perform exx)eriment6, consult authorities, and write es- 
says. He must do, in his fashion, what is often laughed at by 
outsiders when it appears in prospectuses under the title of original 
work ; but what is really the only possible training for the doing 
of original work thereafter. The most colossal improvement which 
recent years have seen in secondary education lies in the intro- 
duction of manual -training schools ; not because they will give us 
a people more handy and practical for domestic life, and better 
skill in trades, but because they will give us citizens with an 
entirely different intellectual life. Laboratory work and shop 
work engender a habit of observation, a knowledge of the differ- 
ence between accuracy and vagueness, and an insight into nature's 
complexity and into the inadequacy of all abstract verbal accounts 
of real phenomena, which once brought into the mind remain 
there as lifelong possessions. They confer precision ; because, if 
you are doing a thing, you must do it definitely right or definitely 
wrong. They give honesty ; for, when you express yourself by 
making things, and not by using words, it becomes impossible to 
dissimulate your vagueness or ignorance by ambiguity. They 
beget a habit of self-reliance ; they keep the interest and attention 
always cheerfully engaged, and reduce the teacher's disciplinary 
function to a minimum. 

William Jambs. 



818 



XX 

THINKING AND DOING 

The best methods of instruction in the ordinary school 
aim at the expression of thought in language. If a thing 
has been well said, the teacher and the examiner are apt 
to make no further inquiries. Although the expression 
of thought in written or spoken language is a species of 
doing, there is often a wide chasm between getting a 
thing said and having it done. Many of the saying and 
reforms and revolutions thought out by uni- doings 
versity professors never get beyond the room in which 
they lecture or the page on which they formulate their 
ideas. The freedom of speech in the universities never 
troubles a despotic government until the ideas of the 
professors and students show signs of passing into the 
life of the nation. The difference between speech and 
action, between the man of words and the man of deeds, 
has long been felt and emphasized. The favorite method 
of teaching by lectures, and requiring the pupil to take 
notes, fails utterly if it stops with mere telling how a 
thing is to be done, and is not followed by actual doing 
on the part of the learner. Work in the shop, in the 
field, and in the factory often proves more effective in 
fitting a boy to earn a living than the theoretical instruc- 
tion of the schools. The advantage of doing over tell- 
ing as a means of learning has led to the formulation 
of the maxim, '* We learn to do by doing," and some 
educational reformers have announced the maxim as a 
principle of education universal in its application. 
Hence it is worth while to clarify its meaning and to 

819 

1 - 



320 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

ascertain its limitatioiis. In so doings we shall get a 
glimpse of the true relation between thinking and doing. 

A young man possessed of unbounded faith in this 
maxim came to town for the purpose of practising medi- 
The maxim ciuc and surgcry. He announced that if any 
*PP"®^*^ person got sick he proposed to give them medi- 

and cine in the hope of learning* the physiological 

surgery, ^ud therai)eutic effects of the various drugs. 
If any limbs were to be amputated, he was willing to try 
his hand, in the hope of ultimately learning how to per- 
form surgical operations. He was too simple to succeed 
as a quack. He did not get a single patient ; the people 
wisely gave him no opi)ortunity of learning to do by 
doing. 

Equally foolish were it thus to apply the maxim to 
any of the other professions. Would you, with, life or 
The maxim Property at stake, allow a novice to plead your 
in the other causc at court in Order that he might learn to 
professions, pj^g^ ^^ pleading! Who would waste the 
golden Sabbath hours in listening to one who was trying 
to learn to preach by preaching! The civilized world 
regards knowledge, which is the product of the act of 
learning, as the indispensable guide of those who offer 
their services at the bar, from the pulpit, or in the sick- 
room. When a Yale professor was asked whether study 
was required of those divinely called to preach, he re- 
plied that he had read of but one instance in which the 
Lord condescended to speak through the mouth of an ass. 

Even an ass may learn to do some things by continu- 
ally doing them in a blind way, and that, too, in spite 
of his proverbial stubbornness 5 but such learning by 
blind practice is unworthy of the school-life of a being 
gifted with human intelligence, and capable, it may be, 
of filling a profession. Instinct may guide a bee or a 
beaver ; but knowledge should guide man in the arts 



THINKING AND DOING. 321 

and habits which he acquires. This fact is not ignored 
in the maxim as originally given by Comenius. "Things 
to be done should be learned by doing them. 
Mechanics understand this well : they do not 
give the apprentice a lecture upon their trade, but they 
will let him see how they, as masters, do; then they 
place the tool in his hands, teach him to use it and imi- 
tate them. Doing can be learned only by doing, writing 
by writing, painting by painting, and so on." There is 
in this statement a clear recognition, on the one hand, 
of the knowledge-getting which precedes and accom- 
panies all intelligent doing, and, on the other, of the 
practice which is needful for the attainment of skill. 
The master mechanic seeks first to give his apprentice a 
clear concept of what is to be done ; and the knowledge 
thus acquired through the eye, and i)erhaps partly 
through hearing directions and explanations, is after- 
wards put into practice by the actual manipulation of 
tools and materials. If the maxim had been allowed to 
stand in this, its original form and meaning, no one 
could have objected to its use and application. But 
when the attempt was made to elevate it intQ a principle 
of binding force for all teaching ; when, furthermore, the 
form was shortened so as to widen the meaning, and the 
maxim was then applied to regulate the acquisition of 
every form of human activity, both physical and mental, it 
is not surprising that protests were heard, and the neces- 
sity was felt of investigating the maxim for the purpose 
of ascertaining its limitations and defining its meaning. 

Yet we must not fail to make grateful acknowledgment 
of the services to education rendered by those who lifted 
the maxim into prominence. How often were value of 
pupils expected to learn one thing by doing the maxim. 
another. Drawing was advocated because it would im- 
prove the penmanship. Silent reading or thought- 

21 



322 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

getting was to be learned by oral reading or tbought- 
giving. The alphabet was taught as if the names of the 
letters would make the child familiar with the sounds. 
The idea of number was to be gotten by naming the 
numbers or imitating the Arabic notation. Facility and 
accuracy in the use of language were to be acquired from 
exercises in parsing and analysis. Familiarity with 
birds, flowers, minerals, chemicals, etc., was to be gained 
from the learned phraseology of the text-books. Some- 
times even the teachers knew very little more than the 
technical terms. When the great ornithologist, Wilson, 
visited Princeton College, the professor of natural his- 
tory scarcely knew a sparrow from a woodi)ecker. A 
great change has come over Princeton and all other 
higher institutions of learning ; and the new influence has 
been felt in our high schools, and even in the grades below. 
Whilst cheerfully acknowledging the value of the 
maxim of Comenius, we should, nevertheless, insist on 
Maxima, the difference between a maxim which may regu- 
principies. late our couduct in specific cases and a prin- 
ciple which is an all-controlling guide in operations. 
Coleridge says, ^'A maxim is a conclusion upon ob- 
servation of matters of fact, and is speculative ; a prin- 
ciple has truth in itself, and is prosi)ective." It is 
always dangerous to generalize upon facts observed in 
one realm of investigation, and then to allow others to 
apply these general statements to realms as diverse from 
the original field of observation as mind or spirit is from 
matter. The disciples in such cases always manifest the 
hidden weaknesses in the system of their master. They 
rush in where he would have feared to tread. They push 
his language to extremes, from which his deeper insight, 
broader vision, and larger experience would have caused 
him to shrink. Comenius framed the maxim from the 
observation of bodily acts j some seek to apply it to every 



THINKING AND DOING. 323 

form of human activity. The original language has been 
twisted into a statement that sounds paradoxical. *^ We 
learn to do by doing.'' What can these words meant 
If we can do a given thing, what need is there of learn- 
ing to do that thing. If we cannot do the thing to be 
learned by the doing of it, how can any doing on our 
part issue in learning T Evidently the maxim in its 
modern form, if it is at all valid, must partake of the 
nature of a paradox, which, though seemingly absurd, is 
yet true in essence or fact For the purpose of testing 
the validity of a paradoxical statement, there is no better 
way than to ascertain its possible meanings, to eliminate 
those evidently not intended, and finally to investigate 
the one or more senses or interpretations that may legiti- 
mately be put upon the language. The investigation 
will, in this instance, reveal the relation existing between 
doing and the act of learning. 

In the first place, the maxim cannot mean that we learn 
to do by every kind of doing. The kind of doing by 
which the young man hoped to learn medicine Analysis of 
and surgery was ridiculed centuries ago; no the maxim. 
one in our day would advocate mere blind doing as a 
means of learning. The maxim must refer to doing 
guided by an intelligent wiQ. The doing must be guided 
by thinking that is based upon correct and reliable data 
or premises. 

Again, the maxim cannot mean that we learn one thing 
by doing another. The maxim was emphasized in protest 
against the absurdity of some of our methods of teach- 
ing. It may happen that the learner accidentally dis- 
covers one thing while seeking to find out some other 
thing ; to expect that this shall always be the case is to 
invite disappointment. For instance, pupils do not learn 
to sx>ell while studying books if attention is absorbed in 
the meaning, and \^ not drawn, in separate exercises, to 



324 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

the correct orthography of words that are apt to be mis- 
spelled. 

There is a third limitation to the maxim on the side of 
attention. How, for instance, is the art of writing ac- 
quired! It is undoubtedly true that a boy cannot learn 
to write without himself writing ; it is equally true that 
he is not always* learning or improving in penmanship 
while he is practising with his i)en upon paper. From 
the teacher or the copy he gets a concept of the letters to 
be made. The first efforts at imitation are fraught with 
defects. The pupil must clearly recognize wherein he 
failed, and earnestly strive to remedy the defects, if the 
next attempt is to be an improvement. The maxim, if 
here applied, must mean that the pupil learns to do by 
continually doing, as nearly as he can, the thing to be 
doue. With each step of progress, his concept of the 
form of the letters and how to make them becomes 
more accurate ; or, in other words, his iK)wer and skill 
keep pace with his knowledge. Finally, after much 
practice, the nerves and muscles which control the act of 
writing are proi)erly co-ordinated ,• the habit of writing 
with ease is acquired ; the process becomes largely sub- 
conscious, if not altogether automatic. The learner has 
at length reached the stage in which his attention is no 
longer concentrated upon the form and beauty of the 
letters, but rather ui)on the thought to be expressed, and 
it is quite possible that henceforth his chirography will 
grow more illegible the more he writes. Of course, he is 
now learning the art of composing by composing ; but he 
has ceased to learn in the direction of his handwriting 
by writing, because the attention is riveted upon some- 
^^ thing else. Even before the subconscious 

Fatigue. ® 

stage is reached, practice, if too long continued, 
may exhaust the powers of attention, and doing can no 
longer issue m learning by reason of fatigue. 



THINKING AND DOING. 325 

On the score of attention there is a limit to the appli- 
cation of the maxim in another direction. Talking, oral 
reading, and public speaking may be spoiled by too 
mnch attention. Practice in these, under the guidance 
of an injudicious teacher, may serve to make the gestures 
too studied, the pronunciation too precise, and the tones 
of the voice too artificial, defects by ^hich the hearer's 
mind is drawn from the thought to the delivery. 

The lack of good elocutionary drill in youth is a seri- 
ous misfortune, yet the writer cannot help blaming the 
elocutionists for ruining one public speaker among his 
acquaintances. Under their tuition the gestures and 
articulation of this Mend have become almost faultless ; 
but there is such a self-conscious air about his platform 
utterances that the audience can think of nothing except 
the delivery. By his efforts at doing he has learned 
most emphatically not to do. The same thing may 
happen in elementary instruction, and in the practice- 
schools connected with our State normal schools. Inju- 
dicious criticism by the teacher may so rivet the 
attention upon the utterance that the pupils injudicious 
lose sight of the thought to be expressed, and criticism. 
the more they practise under his guidance the worse 
their reading becomes. The vocal and physical elements, 
in the act of oral reading or si)eaking, should spring 
sx>ontaneously out of the thought and sentiment to be 
conveyed. Any drill which interferes with this natural 
connection between the mental and the physical is inde- 
scribably bad, and should never be regarded as a means 
of learning. Equally severe must be the sentence of 
condemnation upon much of the criticism to which pupil 
teachers are subjected by their fellow-students and their 
critic-teachers at our normal schools, and upon the com- 
ments made by candidates for the ministry and their pro- 
fessors upon the efforts of the embryo preacher during 



326 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

the so-called homiletical exercises. Injudicious fault- 
finding leads to a kind of doing which cannot issue in 
learning. 

Within these limitations we find a wide field for the 
application of the maxim to our efforts at learning to think 

Appiicar and to express thought. The hand performs a 
tion. very imx>ortant function in aiding the mind 
to i)erfect its concepts. The metric system remains 
a dark, confused mass of names so long as the pupil 
does not actually handle and use the metric units of 
weights and measures. A few days of manual training, 
during which the learner is comi)elled to measure accu- 
rately, are of immense account in developing accurate 
ideas and accurate thinking. Of all the ways of express- 
ing thought, those by the hand and the tongue are more 
perfect than those by the eye, the face, the gesture, the 
bodily movement. The latter are well adapted to ex- 
press feeling ; the former, to express thought. Few have 
ever thought of the marvellous mechanism given to a 

The ann humau being in the arm and hand. A glimpse 
and hand, from the mathematician's point of view is here 
very interesting. A i)encil fastened to the end of a 
ruler revolving around a fixed point will describe 
a circle. If the pencil be fastened to the end of a 
second ruler revolving around the end of the first, 
while the first revolves around the original centre, the 
pencil will describe a very complicated curve. If three 
radii, revolving in this way, be joined together, the i)encil 
at the end of the third can be made to describe the cycles 
and epicycles by which the ancient astronomers ex- 
plained the movements of the planets. The modern 
mathematician has shown that, by annexing a fourth, a 
fifth, and a sixth radius, each revolving around the pre- 
ceding, while the first is moving around the original 
centre, all curves of the fifth and sixth orders can be 



THINKING AND DOING. 327 

described. Let any one examine his right arm, starting 
from the shoulder and ending with the fingers, and he 
will find that since infancy he has had this mechanism 
for executing curves and movements, has been using this 
wonderfal system of revolving radii to express thought, 
and that it has been to him a source of skill in thinking 
and doing. When viewed in their anatomical and 
physiological aspects, human arms and hands are seen to 
be a still more wonderful mechanism, rivalled only by the 
tongue in capability for describing any curve and utter- 
ing any kind of thought. Whilst the tongue may speak 
many oral languages, the hand writes them all, and sup- 
plies additional methods for expressing thought in draw- 
ing, painting, sculpture, instrumental music, in the 
various handicrafts, and in the machines which act like 
man's hand made bigger, more powerful, more tireless. 

From this jwint of view one can see a wide field for 
the intelligent application of the maxim to our efforts 
at learning to write, to talk, to walk, to play on a mu- 
sical instrument, or to handle the tools of some handi- 
craft If questioned with reference to these and kindred 
activities, the physiologist would answer that the 
repeated action of the nerves and muscles in specific 
functions fits them the better to act in the same func- 
tions, and that the effect of the exercise of any function 
may be stored up so as to increase the facility of the 
nervous structure to exercise again every similar func- 
tion. The psychologist would say that any normal act 
performed under the guidance of an intelligent will 
leaves, as its enduring result, an increased power to act 
and a tendency to act again in like manner. Common 
parlance, which is apt to enshrine its wisdom in proverbs, 
simply says. Practice makes perfect. Doing, when it 
engrosses the attention, exerts a reflex influence upon 
thinking; after it sinks to the subconscious level it 



328 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

ceases to exert a helpful inflnenoe. The methods adopted 
in our manual-training schools are, in this resx)edv much 
superior to those pursued under the old apprentice sys- 
tem. The master mechanic found it to his interest to 
Appren- keep the apprentice upon one kind of work 
ttcea. until a high degree of skill was attained. He 
used the apprentice as a means to an end, — the end being 
the production of things that would sell and thus reim- 
burse the master for the time and trouble of teaching his 
trade to another. The mysteries of the trade were kept 
to the last for fear the apprentice would quit before the 
expiration of the time for which he was indentured, l^o 
better plan for crushing the intellectual life could have 
been conceived. The manual-training school, on the 
other hand, makes the boy, and not the product, the end 
Manual of its training, the object of chief concern. It 
^'^i'^^- seeks not merely to make the man a better 
workman, but the workman a better man. No pupil is 
asked to go through the same movement, to do the same 
piece of work, for the purpose of developing skill, until 
every trace of interest is gone. Nothing is made for the 
purpose of selling; everything prescribed is for the 
purpose of developing the pupil's powers, to enable him 
to express thought by the use of working-tools and in- 
struments. The working drawing and the model are the 
symbols which come nearest to a full representation of 
the thing to be made. The word, the clay, the stone, the 
metal, the leather, the cloth, are the materials in which 
thought finds its final expression. Nothing is carried so 
far as to deaden the boy's interest in what he is doing ; 
the charm of novelty is kept up from day to day. If the 
first product is defective, a new problem is set, involving 
the same fundamental operations, or the use of the same 
tools and instruments. The manual-training school and 
the trade school, if properly conducted, thus become a 



THINKING AND DOING, 329 

most valnable means for developing the power to think in 
things. It aims to create the power to think, as well as 
the power to do 5 the two are made commensurate and 
mutually helpful. The thinking is made to issue in 
doing, and the doing is kept fix)m sinking into the sub- 
conscious stage, where it tends to degrade the individual 
to the mere level of a machine. Within these limitations 
we can endorse Professor Wilson's tribute to the hand, 
and subscribe to his demand that, as in the days of Israel's 
glory, it shall be trained in some useful handicraft, not 
merely as a means of livelihood, but more esi)ecially as 
a means of making the pupil a better thinker, a com- 
pleter man. 

'* When I think of all that man's and woman's hand 
has wrought," says he, "from the day that Eve put forth 
her erring hand to pluck the fruit of the forbidden tree 
to that dark hour when the pierced hands of the Saviour 
were nailed to the predicted tree of shame, and of all 
that human hands have wrought of good and evil since, 
I lift up my hand and gaze upon it with wonder and awe. 
What an instrument for good it is I What an instrument 
for evil ! And all day long it never is idle. There is no 
implement which it cannot wield, and it should never in 
working hours be without one. We unwisely restrict 
the term handicrafts-man or hand- worker to the more 
laborious callings ; but it belongs to all honest, Handi- 
earnest men and women, and is a title which crafts. 
each should covet. For the queen's hand there is the 
sceptre, and for the soldier's hand the sword ; for the 
carpenter's hand the saw, and for the smith's hand the 
hammer; for the farmer's hand the plough j for the 
miner's hand the spade ; for the sailor's hand the oar ; 
for the painter's hand the brush ; for the sculptor's hand 
the chisel ; for the poet's hand the pen ; and for woman's 
hand the needle. And if none of these, or the like, will 



330 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

fit US, the felon's chain shonld be round onr wrist, and onr 
hand on the prisoner's crank. But for each willing man 
or woman there is a tool they may learn to handle ; for 
all there is the command, ^ Whatsoever thy hand findeth 
to do, do it with thy might' " 



XXI 

THINKING IN THE ARTS 



881 



A meagre soul can never be made fat, nor a narrow soul laige, 
stud3dng rules of thinking. 

Pbofessor Blackie. 

Have your thinking first, and plenty to think about, and then 
ask the logician to teach you to scrutinize with a nice eye the 
process by which you have arrived at your conclusions. 

Pbofessor Blackie. 

Invention, though it can be cultivated, cannot be reduced to 
rule ; there is no science which will enable a man to bethink him- 
self of that which will suit his purpose. But when he has thought 
of something, science can tell him whether that which he has 
thought of will suit his purpose or not. The inquirer or arguer 
must be guided by his own knowledge and sagacity in his choice 
of the inductions out of which he will construct his argument. 
But the validity of the argument when constructed depends upon 
principles, and must be tried by tests which are the same for all 
descriptions of inquiries, whether the result be to give A an estate, 
or to enrich science with a new general truth, 

J. 8. Mill. 



882 



XXI 
THINKING IN THE ARTS 

Fob centuries men have been disposed to look with 
disdain upon the occupations in which the hands and 
the body are more concerned than the mind. The arts 
in which thought predominates were honored above the 
handicrafts ; and it is only in recent years that educators 
have begun to recognize the educative value of thinking 
through the hand as we find it exemplified in schools 
for manual training. A comparison of the various arts 
will serve to dignify this kind of training and to set it 
in a clearer light before teachers and boards of education. 

Mediaeval thinkers divided the arts into two classes, 
which they called the mechanic and the liberal arts, and 
enumerated seven arts in each class. 

The seven mechanic arts were Agriculture, Propaga- 
tion of Trees, Manufacture of Arms, Carpenter's Work, 
Medicine, Weaving, and Ship-building. The Mechanic 
primary operations were mechanical, as the ^rts. 
name implies, and hence involved a genuine thinking in 
things. Their number has been greatly multiplied ; the 
operations have grown wonderfully complex ; thought 
upon the activities which they necessitate has led to the 
discovery of guiding principles, and some have risen to 
the rank of regular professions. The growth and the 
care of trees have given rise to forestry. Ship-building 
and the manufacture of arms involve science of the 
highest order. The practice of medicine and surgery 

333 



334 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

requires skill based upon kinds of knowledge and think- 
ing that are rigidly scientific. The thoughts which have 
been crystallized in modern inventions deserve equal 
rank with the thoughts which philosophers have woven 
into systems. The various trades of civilized society 
necessitate the expression of thought through the hand. 
Manufactures and commerce involve transactions, opera- 
tions, and competition requiring the highest intelligence, 
the most accurate thinking, the most vigorous effort. 
Any youth whose training has fitted him to excel in 
these is sure of work and fair compensation. 

Far too often the school has taught the pupil to under- 
value and even to despise useful occupations. Scientific 
research, philosophic speculation, and literary 

occupa- productivity have been lauded as more honor- 
tions. 2ib\^ vocations. Any honest occupation that 
furnishes adequate exercise for man's marvellous facul- 
ties is honorable in the sight of Gk)d. If two angels 
should be sent from heaven, one to rule a kingdom, the 
other to break stones upon the highway, each of them 
would be happy in the thought that he was fulfilling 
his divinely appointed mission, and each would receive, 
upon the completion of his task, the "well done" which 
will finally be spoken to every good and faithful servant. 
In 1840 Harriet Martineau visited the United States 
and reported only seven occupations open to women, — 
teaching, needlework, keeping boarders, working in 
cotton factories, typesetting, bookbinding, and house- 
hold service. The school has been blamed for causing 
the rising generation to underestimate the last named in 
comparison with the other occupations open to women. 
Woman in When anything goes wrong in American life 

the arts, ^j^^ school is uot Only blamed, but also expected 
to supply the remedy. It must be admitted that there is 
much false thinking oh the subject of household service 



THINKING IN THE ARTS, 335 

in so-called polite society. A woman may cook for her- 
self and her own household without losing caste. As 
soon as she becomes the cook in another woman's kitchen 
she is banished from the parlor of fashionable society. 
She can stand in a store or work in a factory without 
losing her place in the social scale ; but if she works for 
hire in the kitchen, she is thenceforth treated as belong- 
ing to a lower caste. Is thinking in the culinary art less 
valuable or less difficult than the thinking involved in 
selling ribbons and laces T Does the preparation of a 
palatable meal require less brains and less skill than the 
setting of type or the making of yarnt Does good cook- 
ing add less to the welfare of the race than playing on the 
piano or painting in oil- or water-colors T The teaching 
of domestic science is calculated to change public opinion 
and to add to the sum of human happiness by emanci- 
pating the home from the tyranny and the caprices of 
the servant girl and by securing to deserving help a 
juster appreciation of efficient thinking in household 
service. 

America has been aptly named the paradise of woman. 
The American woman is not exi)ected to break stones 
upon the highway, to carry market-baskets on j^^j^^ 
the top of her head, tp pull the milk-cart along- the para- 
side of the dog, to do all kinds of rough manual ^^® ^* 

woman. 

labor, whilst strong-armed and able-bodied men 
have chairge of the elementary schools. Fully two-thirds 
of the teachers in America are women. Her sphere of 
activity has been greatly enlarged in other directions. 
She may be the inferior of the stronger sex in original 
and creative work, — ^time will settle that question, — but 
in ability to carry college work and to do practical think- 
ing she has shown herself the equal of her brother and in 
every respect deserving of the exalted position assigned 
to her in the New World. She has attained h^v stw^Ung 



336 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

in America through her ability to think and to apply 
thought in the usefol arts. 

The liberal arts were subdivided into the trivium and 
the qoadriviam. The trivium, consisting of grammar, 
The uberai logic, and rhctoric, sought to teach the art of 

•'^- thinking correctly, of expressing thought in 
correct language, and of presenting it in forceftd, persua- 
sive discourse. 

The quadrivium, consisting of arithmetic, geometry, 

astronomy, and music, was composed of thought-studies, 

Quadriv- and furnished material for the thinking of gen- 

i»"n- erations of the best men. The enlargement of 
the boundaries of human knowledge has increased the 
number of studies to such an extent that no student need 
weep like Alexander because there are no more worlds to 
conquer. Moreover, in many directions the human race 
is simply on the border-land of discovery. At the begin- 
ning of this century a professor lamented that the age of 
discovery had passed. The professor who 
quoted him in the middle of the century could 
point to the steam-engine, the electric telegraph, and the 
use of ansesthetics. In the closing year of the century 
we can point to a record of inventions and discoveries un- 
surpassed in the thought-achievements of the race. Man 
has learned to put thought into machines that do work 
with a speed and accuracy impossible of attainment by 
the human hand. His thought is changing the face of 
the earth and developing a civilization based xigon a 
degree of physical well-being and comfort of which the 
man of the last century had not the faintest conception. 
To follow in thought the achievements of a single year in 
the improvement of machinery and the resulting addi- 
tions to our material wealth is to fill the soul with wonder 
at the marvellous powers of the race. All is due pri- 
marily to the exercise of the power Qf ^ought^ ancl sec- 



THINKING IN THE ARTS. 337 

ondarily to the manifold ways of expressing and realizing 
thought. Never were there such magnificent opportuni- 
ties for those who have learned to combine thought and 
action, intelligence and skill, brains and the handicrafts. 
The tradesman deserves honor and recognition with those 
who earn their bread by their wits. Both can live the 
higher life of thought and culture. 

The relation of the trivium to the art of thinking is 
often misconceived. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric fur- 
nish valuable food for thought, excellent disci- 

_ ,, . -, . ,, /. ., , Trivium. 

pline for the mind, especially for the under- 
standing ; but they do not beget the power of thinking in 
new fields of investigation. Their function is corrective, 
not creative. Those who hoi)e to learn the art of compo- 
sition by the study of English grammar are sure to be 
disappointed. Grammar furnishes the tests and rules by 
which one may determine the correctness of sentences. 
It may furnish discipline for the understanding, and thus 
prove valuable as a means of culture. It utterly fails to 
produce thinkers beyond the thinking required in the 
interpretation of language. Parsing, analysis, and dia- 
gramming often become a mechanical iteration of set 
phrases, resulting in mental apathy. Questions in unex- 
pected forms may then be needed to rouse the slumbering 
powers of the intellect. 

Homer and Plato wrot^ good Greek, although neither 
of them had any knowledge of grammar as a science. 
Men used correct sentences long before there was a scien- 
tific treatment of the sentence. 

The same remarks are applicable to the other studies 
of the trivium. Men's minds obeyed the laws of thought 
and drew correct inferences long before the science of 
logic was formulated. He who studies logic in the hope 
that it will make him an original thinker is doomed to 
disappointment. Logic has a critical as well as a disci- 

22 



338 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

plinary value. Its influence upon the intellectual life is 
like that of mathematics. It furnishes a test for one's 
own thinking and provides the means for detecting falla- 
cies in the reasoning of others. Logic can be taught with 
advantage to those who have learned to think ] it fails to 
make creative spirits who have the power of gathering 
thoughts, weaving them into a system, and reaching 
trustworthy conclusions. 

Bhetoric possesses great disciplinary value for the un- 
derstanding. It deserves careftil study on the part of 
those who express their thoughts in public discourse. 
The moment it becomes an end, instead of means to an 
end, it defeats its own purpose. To draw the attention 
to the figures of si)eech and other rhetorical devices of 
an oration is to divert the mind from the line of thought 
and to defeat the purpose for which rhetoric is taught. 
The studies of the trivium are like the handicrafts in 
that they serve as means to an end. From one point of 
view they deserve to be classed with the useful arts; 
from another it is apparent that they furnish material for 
thinking quite as valuable as the multitudinous branches 
of study into which the quadrivium has been expanded. 

The arts are sometimes divided upon the basis of use 
and beauty. From one point of view, as already indi- 
cated, the liberal arts may be regarded as be- 
longing to the category of the useful, and thus 
as forming part of a class distinct from the fine arts. Yet 
the idea of beauty enters into all that man does. Sooner or 
later he seeks to adorn his home, his language, everything 
that he employs in giving expression to his inner life. 

The thinking which lies at the basis of the fine arts has 
distinguishing qualities and characteristics.' The mind 
may be so completely absorbed in poetry, music, paint- 
ing, sculpture, and in the other things which make life 
beautiful that it ceases to be a fit instrument for usefol 



THINKING IN THE ARTS, 339 

living or for engaging in more advanced thinking. The 
element of feeling predominates in the appreciation of 
the beautiftd. The two factors which enter into the 
beautiful are the idea and the form. By casting into the 
alembic of the imagination the materials which the mind 
gathers from the external world, there is evolved the 
ideal ; as soon as this ideal is found embodied in any 
form of nature or art the object is called beautiful. The 
power to see the idea in the form, the ideal in the work 
of art, is a function of thinking, and deserves attention 
from those who are teaching others to think. 

Vast is the difference between the SBsthetic and the 
scientific appreciation of nature. The scientist pulls the 
flower to pieces, analyzes its parts, imposes ^^^^ ^^ 
hard names, and destroys that about the flower and scien- 
which is most attractive to the child and the ti^c sidles 
poet. The student of beauty admires it as it is 
in its original surroundings. He cultivates it to adorn 
the garden, the yard, the home, the school-room. 

Very much, therefore, depends upon the way in which 
nature is studied. The study may be pursued to beget 
habits of observation or to cultivate a sense of the beauti- 
ful. It may be studied for the sake of ascertaining the 
laws which govern the growth of plants, the changes of 
the seasons, the movements of the heavenly bodies, the 
forces which give us light, heat, and all else we need for 
body and mind. When it is studied for the sake of 
truth and beauty, the effort lifts us into the domain of 
the higher life. 

Why should any portion of our life, as compared with 
another, be styled the higher life! Because a man's life 
may abound in some of the activities which are The higher 
essential to his existence and still fail to realize ^^^®- 
the end of his existence. Take life on the farm with all 
its splendid opportunities for the study of nature and of 



340 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

all that is attractive in Gk»d's uniyerse. Whicli shotQd 
be of most accoont in the education of the former's sons 
and daughters, — mind or money, light or lucre, the soul 
or the soO, character or capacity for getting richest 
The curse of wealth, fame, office, and the like is that, if 
they become the chief object of one's ambition, they drag 
the soul into the dust of dishonor, if not the dust of the 
street. 

"If the farmer boy has only been taught how to raise 
better stock, what will he do when that better stock 
The fanner ranges hls form I Will he be a happier father 

^y- and a nobler citizen! Will his home life be 
any less coarse and dull I Will the possession of blooded 
stock make him any more honest than common stock! 
If that is all you have taught him, will he not still be a 
brute among his brutes! Indeed, just so for as you in- 
crease his money-making without increasing his true 
culture and manliness, you increase the probability that 
he will die a drunkard, his son a si)endthrifl, and his 
grandson a pauper. The supreme need is character to 
guide these resources." * 

Whilst it is worth while to dignify labor in all the 
handicrafts by showing the need for intelligent thought 
on the part of those who follow them, it is of vastly more 
importance to emphasize the things of the mind, and to 
The things show how the ability to think conditions the 

of the activities of the higher life and is essential to 

™^^' the fall realization of man's being. The rela- 
tion of thinking to the higher life will claim our attention 
in the concluding chapter. 

* Crooker's ** Student in American Life," x>ages 23, 28. 



XXII 
THINKING AND THE HIGHER LIFE 



841 



How vastly disproiwrtionate are the pleasures of the eatiiig and 
of the thinking man! indeed, as different as the silence of an 
Archimedes in the study of a problem, and the stillness of a sow 
at her wash. Nothing is comparable to the pleasure of an active 
and prevailing thought, — a thought prevailing over the difficulty 
and obscurity of the object, and refreshing the soul with new 
discoveries and images of things, and thereby extending the 
bounds of apprehension, and enlarging the territories of reason. 

Dr. South. 

What is more pleasant than to read of strong-hearted youths, 
who, in the midst -of want and hardships of many kinds, have 
clung to books, feeding, like bees to flowers ? By the light of pine- 
logs, in dim-lit garrets, in the fields following the plough, in early 
dawns when others are asleep, they ply their blessed task, seeking 
nourishment for the mind, athirst for truth, yearning for full sight 
of the high worlds of which they have caught faint glimpses; 
happier now, lacking everything save faith and a gi^eat purpose, 
than in after-years when success shall shower on them applause 
and gold. 

Bishop Spalding. 



842 



XXII 
THINKING AND THE HIGHER LIFE 

The preceding chapter pointed out the function of 
thinking in the arts, and the reciprocal influence of these 
upon the power of thought. It remains to point out the 
relation of thinking to the higher life. The best point 
of departure for such a discussion is the book which has 
done more to foster the higher life of the soul than all 
other books combined. From some points of view the 
best book on teaching ever made is the Book of books. 
In it we find not only practical examples and The Book 
marvellous illustrations of the art of the teacher, of books. 
but also the mast significant maxims and statements 
bearing upon the development of the inner life. In the 
account of the Temptation in the Wilderness, we have 
an utterance from the lips of tiie Great Teacher, direct- 
ing our attention towards the higher life. ^ * Man shall not 
live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth 
out of the mouth of God.'' (Matt. iv. 4.) 

In the universities one hears a great deal about bread- 
studies. Knowledge for its own sake, culture for cul- 
ture's sake, education, not for the sake of its Bread- 
money- value, but for the mind's sake, are the studies. 
ideals held up before the minds of the students. A 
world-famous professor of mathematics demonstrated a 
new theorem, and closed the demonstration with the ex- 
clamation, "iN^ow, that is true, and, thank God, nobody 
can use it !" Does knowledge increase in value as its 

348 



344 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK, 

utility diminishes t This professor was drawing an an- 
nual salary of five thousand dollars, and could well afford 
to ignore the money- value of an education. Lifted above 
the struggle for bread^ he had no sympathy with the 
multitudes in whose experience the struggle for bread 
is the all-absorbing problem of life. The theory of life 
The Great propounded by the Great Teacher is very dif- 
Teacher. fercut He did not despise the arts that make 
bread and win bread. Twice He miraculously multiplied 
the loaves and fishes, in order to feed the multitudes. For 
many years He worked at the carpenter's bench, and after 
the death of His father helped to support His mother. 
When hanging upon the cross, He intrusted His mother 
to the care of John, the ^* disciple whom Jesus loved.'' 

But when Satan came to him and suggested the 
making of bread by unlawful means. He repelled the 
tempter, saying, ''Man shall not live by bread alone, but 
by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." 
Bread here stands for more than physical food. It is 
symbolic of the life that turns upon what we eat and 
drink, the garments we wear, and the houses we live in. 

The best of French kings cherished it as the ambition 
of his life to make every one of his subjects so well off 
The French as to be able on Sunday to have roast fowl for 

^^«- dinner. Had he lived in our day, he would 
have included among the objects of his ambition a new 
bonnet for every woman at least twice a year. Boast 
fowl and new bonnets cost money ; and money indicates 
the plane from which very many people look at every 
question of government and education. Money stands 
for what we eat and drink, for the garments we wear and 
the houses we live in, for the thousands of creature com- 
forts which we deem essential to our well-being and hap- 
piness. Perhaps the school has not done all it is destined 
to accomplish in fittiag the pupils to win these, but there 



THINKING AND THE HIGHER LIFE. 345 

is abundant evidence to show that a good school increases 
the earning power of the individual, aad thereby makes 
possible the higher life of mind, or of the soul. Earning 
The untutored red man eked out a scanty ex- power. 
istence in spite of unparalleled advantages in soil and 
stream and climate ; the intelligence begotten by the 
modem school has enabled our people to utilize and de- 
velop the material resources of the iN^ew World to such 
an extent that Garlyle sneeringly said, ^^ America means 
roast turkey every day for everybody. ' ' Let us accept the 
remark as an acknowledgment that the American people 
are better fed than those of England or Continental 
Europe 5 and yet Carlyle was right in hinting that there 
is a life higher than that which turns upon what we eat 
and drink and wear, for this is in accord with the view 
of life taught by the greatest Teacher of all the ages. 

It is worth while to pause a moment for the purpose 
of pointing out the relation of the higher life to the side 
of life symbolized by bread. In a word, the higher life 
rests upon the other as a basis. Where the ^^^^^jg 
vital energies of a people are exhausted in the of the 
struggle for bread, the very mention of educa- ^*^er life. 
tion is a mockery. The school lays the foundation for 
the higher life when it increases the average earning 
power of the industrial classes, and thereby makes it 
easier for them to gain a livelihood. Here is the first 
point of contact between the school and the higher life. 
There is no language sufficiently strong to condemn the 
spirit of the professor who, when he had demonstrated a 
new theorem in higher mathematics, thanked God that 
nobody could use it. 

Only professors filling well-endowed chairs at our uni- 
versities can afford to speak disparagingly of Brot- 
studien and to advocate theories of education which 
would sunder the school from practical life. An educa- 



346 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

tion that unfitB the pupil for bread- winning in case of 
necessity cannot be too severely condemned; among 
other reasons, because it fails to lay a proper foundation 
for the higher life. On the other hand, the s^^hool that 
does not aim at something higher than dollars and cents 
deserves equally severe condemnation; for that which 
makes life worth living cannot be bought with 
money can moucy. If you are rich, you may buy a fine 
and cannot housc, but you caunot buy a happy home ; that 

^^* must be made, — made "by you and by those who 
occupy it with you. With money you may rent a piew 
in some fashionable church, but you cannot rent a good 
conscience, — that depends upon your manner of living 
and dealing with others. Money will enable you to buy 
a fine copy of Shakespeare, but it cannot purchase for 
you the ability to appreciate a play of Shakespeare, — 
that is the result of education. Wealth will enable you 
to cover the walls of your costly mansion with beautiftQ 
pictures ; and the sewing-girl, if she has been properly 
taught in a public school, will get more enjoyment out 
of them than can possibly be gotten by tiie sons and 
daughters of wealth and luxury whose proi)er education 
has been neglected. 

Plato wrote above the door of the academy, ''Let no 
one enter here who is destitute of geometry." Why did 
he value geometry so highly t Not merely as an intro- 
duction to the study of philosophy, for in one of his 
dialogues he says, '' Gk)d geometrizes.'' He had an idea 
that a youth in thinking the theorems of geometry is 
Thinkin ^^i^^^g diviuc thoughts. When Kepler dis- 

Qod'g covered the laws of planetary motion, he ex- 

thoughts, claimed, in ecstasy, "O God, I think thy 

thoughts after thee T' When a pupil learns to think the 

thoughts which the Creator has put into the starry 

heavens above us and into all nature about us, he is 



THINKING AND THE HIGHER LIFE, 347 

thinking God's thoughts and tasting the enjoyments of 
the higher life. When he is taught the right use of 
books, and given access to a public library, he may 
acquire the power to think the best thoughts of the best 
men at their best moments. In nature study, in the 
reading lesson, in the teaching of science and literature, 
the school fosters the higher life of the pupil by enabling 
him to think God's thoughts and man's best thoughts as 
these are enshrined in creation and in the humanities. 
The objection is sometimes* heard that the school The objec- 
makes the working-classes discontented with ^^ 
their lot. "Teach a man to think," says the opponent 
of universal education, '^and you make him dissatisfied 
with what he has and knows." If the school fixes the 
eye upon wealth, fame, glory, official position, and other 
things which can be attained only by a few, and which, 
when sought as the chief end of life, ;*esemble the apples 
of the Dead Sea, turning to ashes on the lips as soon as 
they are tasted, then, indeed, the school may doom its 
pupils to a life of discontent and disappointment. But 
if the school fixes the eye upon the things of the higher 
life, things which are within the reach of every boy and 
girl at school, it lays the foundation for a con- True con- 
tentment far transcending the possibilities of a tentment. 
life that turns upon feasting, of&ce-holdlng, and the 
things that can be bought with money. 

It must be admitted that the exercise of the higher 
I)Owers carries with it a certain feeling of discontent, but 
it is a feeling that conditions true progress and is not 
doomed to ultimate disappointment. The true test of 
what is preferable is the testimony of those who have 
knowledge of both modes of existence. Who that knows 
both does not value the pleasures of thinking above 
those of eating t Who would exchange the joy of doing 
right for anything attainable by the man who, for the 



348 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

sake of snccees, banishes ethics from his business or his 
I>oliticsf ^'Few human creatures,'' says Mill, "would 
consent to be changed into any of the lower animals for 
a promise of the fallest allowance of a beasf s pleasures ; 
no intelligent human being would consent to be a fool, 
no instructed i)erson would be an ignoramus, no person 
of feeling and conscience would be seliish and base, even 
though he should be persuaded that the fool, or the dunce, 
or the rascal is better satisfied with his lot than they 
with theirs." *'It is better to be a human being dis- 
satisfied than a pig satisfied, better to be a Socrates dis- 
satisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool or the pig 
is of a different opinion, it is only because they know 
only their own side of the question. The other party to 
the comparison knows both sides." Who would not 
rather be an intelligent workingman seeking to better 
his condition, than an ignoramus contented with little 
because he knows nothing of the joys of the higher 
life! 

Life is fall of contradictions and incongruities and 
disappointments. Over against these, the school, in its 
Life's oon- relation to the higher life, has a duty to per- 
txadictions. form. For the discontent which springs from 
life's contradictions and incongruities a safety-valve has 
been given to man in his ability to laugh. The person 
who never laughs is as one-sided and abnormal as the 
person who never prays. The comic is now recognized 
as one form of the beautiful, and the beautiful is closely 
allied to the true and the good. Without going into the 
philosophy of this matter, attention may be drawn to 
the fact that beauty has a home in the domain of art, 
as well as of nature ; that the queen of the fine arts is 
poetry ; that the greatest poet of all the ages was Shakes- 
peare; that Shakespeare's literary genius reached its 
highest flights in tragedies and comedies ; that whilst 



THINKING AND THE HIGHER LIFE. 349 

tragedy and comedy are two forms of the beautiful in 
art, comedy is the highest form of the comic, whilst 
tragedy is the highest form of the sublime. In tragedy 
teaching us to appreciate the plays of Shakes- and 
peare, the school not merely teaches us when to «*™«^y- 
laugh and when to weep, thereby furnishing the safety- 
valve to let off our discontent and to reconcile us anew 
to our lot, but puts us in possession of that which money 
cannot buy, — namely, the ability to appreciate the beau- 
tiful in its subtlest and sublimest forms. Who owns the 
moonlit skies, the millionaire or the poet! Who owns 
the hills and the valleys, the streams and the mountains ; 
he in whose name the deeds and mortgages are recorded, 
or he whose soul can appreciate beauty and sublimity f 
Beauty has a home in nature and in art. It is ^ ^^ 
the province of the school to put us in posses- 
sion of the beautiftd, the sublime, and the comic, for these 
quite as much as the true and the good belong to the 
things of the higher life. 

How about life's disappointments t Higher than the 
life of thought is the life of faith and hope ^^^^^ 
and love, — ^higher, because these are rooted and hope, and 
grounded in the life of thought, ripen above it ^*^'^®' 
as its highest fruitage and efflorescence. The nineteenth 
century has been an age of faith. Every scientific mind 
has profound faith in nature's laws, in the universal 
efficacy of truth ; and, like Agassiz and Gray and Drum- 
mond, multitudes of the best minds have made the step 
from faith in natural laws to faith in the laws which 
govern the spiritual world. 

The common people evince a faith almost bordering on 
credulity in the readiness with which they accept the 
results of scientific research and investigation.. Faith 
lies at the basis of great achievements. Bismarck de- 
clared that if he did not believe in the divine govern- 



350 THINKING AND LEARNING TO THINK. 

ment of the world, he would not serve his conntry an- 
other day. ^^ Take away my fedth/' he exclaimed, ^^ and 
you take away my country, too.'' Whilst no religious 
test can be applied to those who teach in our public 
schools, our best i>eople prefer teachers who have faith 
in the unseen to teachers who lack &ith in the truths of 
revelation. In ways that escai>e observation, the spirit 
of faith passes from teacher to pupil, and gives the latter 
a sense of something to live for and something to be 
achieved. 

Faith begets hoi)e. The hoi)e of glory, of rewards in 
civil and military life, of immortality on the pages of 
history, has stimulated to deeds of heroism and self- 
sacrifice, and will continue to do so to the end of time. 
The higher life knows of higher objects of hope than 
these. Immortality on the pages of history is only an 
immortality in printer's ink. The true teacher wishes 
his pupils to cherish the hope of an immortality far 

inimor- more real than an immortality in printer's ink ; 

t^i*y- he seeks to implant in their hearts the hope of 
an immortal life in a world where the soul shall be robed 
in a body like unto Christ's risen body, which Stephen 
saw in a vision of glory and Paul beheld in a manifesta- 
tion of overwhelming splendor. 

That which makes life worth living is the life of love. 
In the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, which is 

Love * poem, though lacking metre and rhyme, 
makes life Paul spcaks of faith, hope, and charity, aind 

w^ says that, of these three, the greatest is charity, 
or love, as the Eevised Version translates it 
Faith shall be changed to sight, and hope to glad frui- 
tion, but love shall abide forever. Throughout the cease- 
less ages of eternity, love of the truth, as it is, in Jesus, 
— ^yea, man's love for his Maker and his Saviour, and 
for the whole glorious comjMuiy of the redeemed, — ^will 



THINKING AND THE HIGHER LIFE. 351 

continue to glow and to grow, lifting the sonl to ever 
loftier heights of ecstasy and bliss. A foretaste of this 
ecstatic bliss is possible in this life. Love of home and 
country, of kindred and friends, of truth and righteous- 
ness, of beauty in all its forms, of goodness of every 
kind, up to the highest forms of the good, gives life on 
earth a heavenly charm. Even in this world, the love 
that binds human hearts, that makes homes and brother- 
hoods, that issues in deeds of kindness, friendship, and 
charity, is bringing more happiness to the race than all 
other agencies combined. 

' ' The night has a thousand eyes, 
And the day but one ; 
Yet the light of the whole world dies 
With the setting sun. 

** The mind has a thousand eyes, 
And the heart but one ; 
But the light of a whole life dies 
When love is done." 

The school makes possible the higher life when it 
teaches the pupil to think. Bight thinking puts intel- 
ligence into the labor of his hands, increases Thinidiig 
his earning-power, lays the foundation for his ^^^ ^^^in^- 
physical well-being, and lifts him above an existence 
that is a mere struggle for bread. It promotes the higher 
life by teaching him to think God's thoughts, as enshrined 
in all His works, and the best thoughts of the best men, 
as embodied in literature and the humanities. It fits the 
pupil for complete living by developing in him the power 
to appreciate the beautiful in nature and art, power to 
think the true and to will the good, power to live the 
life of thought, and faith, and hope, and love. 

THE END. 

■aNiVERSlTY 



^'^ 



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